On Sunday, I’ll be playing my first game, or games, of warmachine in over a month. I’ve got some choices here, about what I am going to field, and I’ve still not made up my mind. So, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m really digging the new Goreshade I model, and want to field him. I’ve also been toying around with my favorite Skorne ‘caster Xerxis’ Fist of Halaak, and finally, I’ve “hung up” the Cephalyx, but being my most recent army, I can slide right easily into them after such an extended period of time off.

Cephalyx

These guys don't kill Shocktroopers

The Overlords are Coming! 

Cephalyx are easily the go to here, with an army I am have both used recently and don’t believe that I have completely mastered. They are cool, fun and I really need to finish painting them. Playing them again may get me motivated to paint, but I don’t know. I’ve got to paint a friends commission first, and I am super, super behind on that.

Cephalyx Pros: Most recent army used, awesome models, perhaps a drive to paint! three of the people that are going to be there haven’t even seen them.
Cephalyx Cons: Two people there have fought them multiple times, After 17 games I think I need a change of pace, not Cryx.

Cryx

Goreshade 1

Walk in the shade of Gore!

Cryx is whats itching my brain right now, and is making me want to pull out all sorts of lists, tops among them Goreshade I. He’s got a new sculpt, which might invigorate painting, and he’s a caster I’ve given up on before. Sometimes, I just want to try and polish a turn, and maybe Goreshade has something in there worth shining up. I’m not particularly sure, as almost everyone there will be playing warmachine, that I will get the best use out of him. Playing those bad matchups, though, is whats going to pull you through in the time of crisis where you end up playing like that in a tournament.

Cryx Pros: Cryx, new sculpt may invigorate painting, strange list that could be incredibly fun, chance for a second look at a caster, Banes!
Cryx Cons: No Hordes, chances of being played in this situation is normally low, Unfamiliarity with both list and caster, Still need to design list I am happy with.

The Fist of Halaak

From Whence Pain comes.

From Whence Pain comes.

Xerxis is extremely tempting, even though I don’t have his army completely assembled yet. Besides being a favorite of the Skorne ‘Casters, He’s got a freaking cool theme list that allows me to take just a flood of medium based infantry. The list I wan’t isn’t perfect yet, but that is OK by me, because its still going to be really, really good. However, with Exigence coming out soon, just a few days, really, I want to put off any Skorne awesomeness until after I can get and try out some of the new stuff. It is likely, though, that something in exigence will release that pops the Mean Mountain/Fist style of play and ends its reign of terror. Who knows!

Skorne Pros: Awesome army, Awesome caster. List will have limited shelf life, I get to use Tiberion
Skorne Cons: Exigence Awesomeness still to hit the tables, tons of unpainted models, will not invigorate painting concepts, Skorne on the horizon anyways.

Looking over the lists, I think that unless one of my friends asks to play against Cephalyx, I am going to bring Cryx. Goreshade I has just got to hit the table before I dive completely into my Skorne.

That means that I need to finish up a list, and do it soon!

The last list I had started to mull about was something like this:

Goreshade 1+6
*Nightmare10
*Slayer6
*Reaper7
Bane Lord Tartarus4
Darragh Wrathe4
Warwitch Siren2
Warwitch Siren2
Mechanithralls (10)5
Mechanithralls (10)5
Necrosurgeon2
Necrosurgeon2
Satyxis Raiders (6)5
*Sea Witch 2
56

 

I’m still not convinced that I want or need the Mechanithralls, and that is a big boat, some 14 points of beef that I could be using elsewhere, and I am also concerned, the more I Think about it, about the issue difficult terrain will posses, especially when I know I’ll be fighting a lot of Warmachine.

Slayers and Nightmare are definitely in, just because I want to test them out, but if I get hit with the fact that this list is terrible in game 1, I want to be able to change it up for the second game, if not to much.

I think I am just going to bite the bullet and grab Bane Knights in exchange for that 2 units of Mechanithralls. Not only are my banes Super Sweet but they also mitigate pathfinder and speed, and should be able to capitalize on both the Deathwalkers Steal Breath ability and the Bane Thralls Dark Shroud. That leaves me with 4 points left if I want to keep the Satyxis in, and 11 if I don’t. I’ve got a unit of Bane Riders that could hit the table, and might be able to take the heat off the Bane Knights for a turn or two while they both advance, especially against charges with Darragh Wrath around.

Actually, I think I’ll do just that. Its probably not the perfect list, but its a place to start my short time back into Cryx before exigence. The list I’ve decided to bring to my Sunday is this:

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

I think That is going to give me the pathfinder I need with both the Bane Knights and Bane Riders while also providing me speed and accuracy with MAT 10 speed 7 Riders and the Speed 5 Reach Bane Knights.

I like that this list is just chock full of reasons to be terrified of melee, though I have 0 shooting. If I end up running against someone with a Haley 1 or another caster that can just rattle off my dudes before I get there I’ll be in huge trouble, but such is the way of life. I’m also not going to bring a second list, as much as it pains me. While I can rely on 2 lists to bail me out of certain games, many times I will be list locked and have to play this list in a suboptimal matchup. Being able to make that game just a little easier is how I am going to win it, and it starts with making sure you take every game you can get as a learning experince.

 

This weeks Battle report is brought to you by No Pictures. Because I completely forgot, so bear with me. It is also really long, but that’s because the game was long.

As I do most Thursday evenings, I took a trip to a friends house and got a game of Warmachine in. A few of us have recently decided to turn the dial up a bit, and I got to run against a pretty nasty Stryker II force.

Stryker II+5
*Ol' Rowdy9
*Lancer
6
*Squire2
Storm Tower2
Journeyman Warcaster3
Stormcaller1
Archduke Alain Runewood3
*Cyclone9
Horgenhold Forgeguard (10)8
*Jonas Murdoch2
Storm Lances (5)11
56

I brought my typical Thexus List

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

I was concerned because he had the Storm Lances in the list, and they can kill around 5 infantry models a model a turn, given perfect circumstances, and I just wasn’t ready to have that happen to me. Ol’ Rowdy’s Guard Dog ability made me worry about hitting Stryker with my Wreckers, as Def 18 is no slouch. The Stormtower will always give me fits, as anything that chains damage into my Cephalyx models causes me no end of fits. Stryker himself is also a problem as he has 17″ of threat, but I have a 16″ control area to make sure I keep him at arms length. The final problem comes from the Cyclone, a model that tends to give me no end of grief, as its 7″ of area denial is pretty massive.

The table is set up with a building on the far left center-line,  a rocky forest on the far right center-line, walls to the center-left of each players board, with a hill on my center right inches from my deployment zone, and a forest dead center and about an inch out of his. We rolled up Two Fronts as our scenario, and I won the dice off, choosing first turn.

I really think that first turn is crucial to the Cephalyx Army, and I will give up slightly advantageous board position to get it. All of the models that will need to do work have trouble with Terrain and have been given a gentleman’s speed 5. To me, this means that I need to get out and into the board as quickly as possible in order to even threaten scenario. Seeing as Thexus is a pretty miserable scenario caster (more on that later) First turn, to me, is a huge boon.

He keeps the side he is sitting at, and we get moving.

Deployment:
Cephalyx
I go for the strong center, because its my default setup. I’ve become pretty solid at deploying my forces to take and hold the center while scaring off any jack-based flanking forces. Thexus to the center, with the Mind bender to my left, and the mind slaver to the right. I then interweave the drudges from both units in ranks two deep, alternating units. The fourth spot in each front line is dedicated to Agitators. At the edge of each line, terrain permitting, is a Wrecker, and beyond that I have the Pistol and Machine Wraiths. This deployment is mirrored, so both sides have the same threats. In the center behind Thexus is the Warden and another Agitator. The overlords take up positions behind Thexus and one in the center, behind each wing.

Cygnar
He goes for a strong central presences, as both the scenario zones are between pieces of terrain that make the zones hard to flank. Stryker, Ol’ Rowdy, Squire, Runewood, Journeyman and the Cyclone are in the center. To each flank is a full unit, with the Cavalry taking the left, and Jonas and his Horgenhold the right with the lone Stormsmith.

 

Advanced Deployment
With no AD for the Swans, Thexus tossed the Dominator and the TAC in the center, as was his desire. A first turn run, followed by smoke on the second turn tend to be my opening moves.

This guy was comin' for me!

This guy was comin’ for me!

Turn 1
The first turn is simple, with each of us running forward and jockeying for position on the scenario zones. Both my Wreckers angle center-ward, as his big models seemed clustered there, with my agitators following behind. The Drudges ran forward to screen the monstrosities from the worst of it. I tried to keep my Cephalyx from being to close to anything, but its extremely hard with 30+ models. Both Wraith pairs flanked wide.His entire army rolled forward, and the Cav were going to get into the game soon, what with running 16″. Strykery was a bit cautious and ended his turn behind a wall, but the rest of the moved inwards, looking to create a place where Stryker would be safe and still threaten Thexus due to velocity.

Turn 2. 
Cephalyx
I got into the tank, and I am not ashamed of it. Stryker’s feat is coming next turn, and I am going to have to eat it on the chin. Figuring out who get smashed is a big conundrum, and it takes me a few to sort it out in my head. Eventually, I settle into an acceptance, and start to move forward. The first to move are the TAC. There was once a time I thought that using them to protect the shooting elements of my army would be valuable, after a few games of trying to figure it out in my head, its just  not. I do, however, gladly pay their price for a single turn of clouds followed by bonus whatever happens next. The TAC drop clouds and brace for impact. I know that they are going to be charged by the Storm Lances, and that its going to hurt, a lot. I want to make sure I feed as few enemy models to the initial charge as I can, while also trying to deny him a deep-push feat. I can’t give him the 6″ between my troops that I would like for them to play safe, but I also can’t just hand him a complete target selection. I decide to layer my Mind Slaver drudges to eat as many of the electroleaps, feat attacks and other ancillary garbage as I can, leaving many of my models a touch farther behind. The Wrecker on my left, sensing no threats, touches into the zone with the Machine Wraith and the Pistol wraith, wary of Jr and Runewoods threat range. The Mind Bender drudges move up and take central positions with Agitators and overlords, with the second Pistol Wraith taking shots at the lancer, missing his first and failing to death chill. The machine wraith worked his way around to try and threaten the Lancer next turn from advancing for fear of being possessed. The wrecker, fearing a charge from anything in the world and needing to clean up if necessary, shuffled just a few inches and maintained presence threat on the zone. With my feat and TK, I could threaten to the other end of the zone and more.

Cygnar
My opponent when into the tank for a few minutes, but came out quicker than I did, and started moving on his plan. The Lancer, unhindered by last turns flub on the part of the Pistol Wraith. The Forgeguard, with Runewoods aid, charged the Pistol Wraith as well as a set of drudges, clearing them all from the board. The Storm Lances went in next, blowing up all three of the TAC as well as a number of Drudges behind them. The Cyclone moved up and dropped covering fire near the Lances to protect them from the infantry to my right.The Storm Tower was out of range, and the Stormsmith didn’t roll enough damage to kill. Ol’ Rowdy positioned himself slightly off center of the battle lines. Strkyer moved forward and dropped Rebuke on the Mind Benders through the Lancer. I thought it was much more devastating than it was, as both the Concussion Pulse and the Adrenal Flood are * actions, not * attacks. He then popped his feat. Once everything was finished, he started on his feat actions. He moved a pair of the Storm Lances forward, killing more drudges with both the melee attacks and the Electroleaps. Some Forgeguard moved forward to attack hapless drudges while the rest maneuvered into position for the next turn.

Thexus!

Thexus!

Turn 3
Cephalyx
I had taken it on the chin, and I’d lost a bit more of the drudges than I wanted, but I felt I was doing ok. It was feat time, and I was rearing to go. After a minute of thought, I dropped three focus on to the leftmost wrecker and kept the rest for myself. Thexus lead the charge himself, moving to get the most models into his control area while also maintaining no closer than 15″ from Stryker. I then activated my feat, and started going to town. He’d moved the Storm Smith in my way the last turn, and I moved him backwards, enabling me to move the Lancer to the left towards my Machine Wraith, now positively within 8″. I drug the majority of the forgeguard forward and out of defensive line, making them easier to kill, and the Storm Lances were clumped together, one of them even taking damage from a covering fire template I moved him through. Everyone else just moved around to make it a bit more difficult for my opponent next turn. My feat finished, I TK‘d myself outside of Strykers threat range, and TK‘d the left Wrecker within charge range of the closest Storm Lance. I activated the left most Agitator to give the mind bender drudges the Incite buff, and then those very same drudges went to town, leaving not a single frontline Forgeguard alive and using a single Adrenal Flood on the final Mind Slaver Drudge. There was going to be retaliation from the 5 in the rear, but I could deal with that. The Adrenal Flooded Drudge moved in for an attack, dealing 4 to the unfortunate Cavalry model. The Wrecker, all cleared and ready to go, charged in for free due to aggressive reaction. I made my first attack roll and cringed, I’d forgotten to activate the Agitator first. Sticking with it, I kept going. Thankfully, attack after attack hit and killed, leaving only a single, undamaged Storm Lance left. Needing 7’s to hit and 8’s to kill, it was a lucky streak. With most of his front line dead, I moved my support pieces into place so that I could continue pressuring him next turn, with the pistol wraith aggressively moving into the backfield, and the Machine Wraith gunning for Runewoods cyclone on the left flank, and taking over the Lancer on the right. The right flank wrecker and subduer moved forward into more threatening and active positions.

Cygnar
The turn started off pulling one from the Squire and keeping the 7 for himself. Stryker was going to need to get his hands dirty. With the left flank wrecker within easy charge range of Stryker, and already damaged from channeling TK, it wasn’t going to be easy, but it needed to be done. Stryker overcharged for a single die, gaining +4 STR, while also taking 2 damage: a fantastic exchange. He then charged the Wrecker. Needing 3’s to hit and doing straight dice damage, the Wrecker was in the dirt after 5 attacks, leaving 3 focus on Stryker. Ol’ Rowdy ran over to Stryker to give him +2 DEF to melee attacks, and the Cyclone moved in to cover Stryker as well, moving down the last Mind Bender Drudge. Taking that mat 11 pow 19 attack off the board was vital for Stryker’s survival. Jr moved over and cast Arcane Shield on the Forgeguard, who then charged forward, eliminating the entire line of Mind Bender Drudges that had killed their compatriots the turn before, as well as slamming an Overlord, though the attack failed to kill him. The final Storm lance, now free, charges into an overlord, the Mind Slaver Leader and a Mind Bender Drudge, leaving only the drudge alive.  Runewood move forward, and the Storm tower fired into the drudges,killing another pair. The Stormsmith summoned lighting to blow away an Agitator, while the rest of the army consolidated.

This Models Kill Count: Butcher 3, Reznik 2.

This Models Kill Count: Butcher 3, Reznik 2.

Turn 4
Cephalyx
I could smell blood, but it wasn’t going to be easy. Along my path to victory were 4 Forgeguard, and I had to to still kill Stryker at the end of it all, no easy task at def 18 arm 19. I allocated 1 to the Subduer, 3 to the Wrecker, and kept 4 for Thexus. I started the turn running the Subduer, wary that I only had 2″ of play between counter charge from Ol’ Rowdy and the range of TK, to within TK range of Stryker, ending up .5″ out of counter charge range.I use the Lancer to go tie up the Storm Tower, hoping to hit but failing.  I then activate Thexus and go to TK Stryker, picking up my 2″ mover before I am reminded that I need to hit. I am at a crossroads here. If I boost to hit, I cannot TK my Wrecker, who I think needs the distance to get the charge off. If I can hit unboosted, I get the charge on Stryker, and I can probably win. Without it, its a lot harder, but Stryker will definitely be TK‘d. I boost, hit and TK him, backwards, in front of the Wrecker, while also making the mistake to keep him in base with Ol’ Rowdy. Sitting on my final focus, I also forget to move backwards, keeping me about 15″ from Stryker. I move the Machine Wraith up and take over the Cyclone, and I use the Pistol Wraith to kill Jr, and then use his soul to kill Runewood, Stripping of Arcane Shield from the Forgeguard. In order to clear the lane, I grab my overlords and start spraying down the line of Forgeguard, and manage to take all but one out on the first spray, needing 8’s to kill. The second overlord, who’d wanted to spray off the squire, has to turn his attention to the remaining dwarf, and melts his brain, killing him and clearing the path for the Wrecker. I move an Agitator up, trying to keep myself out of a counter charge lane, and start instigating. The Wrecker takes up his chains, and prepares to finish off the enemy ‘Caster, but judging the distance turns out to be finicky, and I don’t think its 10″ between the two models. Instead, I charge the Squire, for free again thanks to Aggressive Reaction. With a MAT of 7, I need 7’s to kill it and move on to Stryker, who was just out of 10″. I miss. My second bought attack hits, killing it, and I move up, engaging Stryker and Ol’ Rowdy. My first attack connects, after a boosted to hit, and I beat him out of base with Rowdy, lowering his defense to 14 and also doing 4 damage. The final attack also connects and the dice come up 6, leaving Stryker on 5. As a final last ditch effort, my final Agitator sprays Stryker, but leaves him alive.

This guy was almost the death of me!

This guy was almost the death of me!

Cygnar
Now, the blood is in my opponents nose. He activates Rowdy, moves forward and uses Tremor to free up Stryker from the Wrecker, who is now knocked down. Only a single model stands between Stryker and Thexus now, and Murdoch is happy to oblige his officer by shooting the Cephalyx in the face, killing it. Stryker then uses 3 points on a velocity to get the charge angle and charges Thexus. He has three focus, four attacks, and is doing straight dice damage. I have resigned myself to my fate, as the floating atrophied body can’t take a whole lot of punishment and has no real way to protect itself. 14/14 with 15 wounds just isn’t the way I need to be. Strykers charge attack misses. Undaunted, he swings again, connecting for 7, and again, connecting for 5, leaving Thexus with three. The final swing comes down, and misses, leaving Stryker out of focus in front of Thexus, but Thexus only has three HP. The last Storm Lance eats a free strike on his way to try and finish Thexus off, but the Mind Bender Drudges free strike manages to kill the Cavalry model by 1 extra point, saving Thexus from certain death.

Turn 5
Cephalyx
I am staring down a madman with a sword, and my worthless atrophied ass can’t do a damned thing about it. Stryker is Def 16, ARM 16 innately, and I have MAT 5 POW 9 weapons. Even with 8 focus, its just not realistic to expect 5 damage. After my first attack, it would take 3 focus to do 4 damage, with a huge possibility of failure. I mull it over for a few seconds before my buddy mentions Hex Blast as I reach for Warroom. Its an AOE, so I have to move back, but its a POW 13 with MA 8, a sight higher chance of killing. I mull over the choices and decide that I’ll just flat out boost it all around, and it works. Stryker, after a long, awesome game, is in the dirt, and Thexus gets to float away, barely, to live another day.

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.

 

 

I have been playing my Cephalyx at every chance I get, and am very pleased with their performance. I currently sit at a very comfortable 5-3-1, with the one draw coming to time. I’ve played 25, 35, and 50, and have used every model at their disposal. With the switch back to Cryx looming on the horizon for September and October, I felt it was time to go back and evaluate what I’ve been doing, how I’ve been learning, and what I like or dislike about the Minifaction of Cephalyx.

cephalyx_heavy_kit

Monstrosities
The Monstrosities stand out to me as the flagships of the army. If you have no desire to play them, there is no real reason for you to play the faction as a whole, its just not going to be worth your time. All three monstrosities are exceedingly good.

  • The Wrecker is all it says its supposed to be and more. TK and the feat gives it up at a very achievable 14″ threat range, and at MAT 7 it easily threatens whatever is around to pummel. I do not think, however, that you can count on TKing your target closer to you for extended threat range. Fueling one of these for a rampage takes over 30% of your focus, and if you want to TK the Wrecker, its over 50%. With the TK of the target model, you’re going to need to be close enough to charge already and want to burn nearly 90% of your focus. The Focus expenditure is a choice, but being close enough anyway make it a pretty terrible choice most times. The times its not is when you simply cannot afford a miss. If the target is defense 14+, I’d consider it to get the backstrike bonus. Overall, the Wrecker is even better than I’d originally assumed, and I thought the world of him. I do feel that two is mandatory, though, and that’s kinda lame. Being able to piece trade up with him in the early game, and then swing in to clear a zone or take out a second threat is just essential for being able to put pressure on your opponent.
  • The Warden is a fairly good, standard Monstrosity. He has the oomph to take down enough targets that I don’t feel he is wasted being in the back line, and he has the rules to back up his placement as a second wave. Until recently, I’d not realized how trivial it can be to set up a slam, between the feat and TK. This might just turn into a Gladiator style assassin. He also has the potential to clear out zones both with huge slams and two-handed throws, both of which can be invaluable.
  • The Subduer is something I am not as thrilled with as I was initially. It’s got a unique shtick in the army that enabled it to perform some great tasks while I was using it, but he just does not have the piece trade potential that the Wrecker does, he just looses out on too many attacks, an additional point of POW, and his tricks don’t work on Colossals and Gargantuans. Piled onto that, his drag is easily thwarted by positioning, which I would have to pop my feat to undo. Sometimes, its worth it, but most times it is not.He very much seems like a model designed to fit into a three-model-kit heavy as the third model. While he has some good potential, I just keep subbing him out for a Wrecker.

Overall, I am really trying to figure out a way to keep everything and add a fourth Monstrosity. I don’t see how I can do it without causing my list to crumble, bit I think its possible. I could go Double Warden Double Wrecker, but it is most likely to be a Subduer. Those 36 boxes are much hardier than any of my opponents thought, and it almost always required the expenditure of more force than 6 or 7 points warrants.

Solos are the next most potent addition to the way the Cephalyx play this game, even there is really only one, I’ll cover the Dominator here as well as the Cryx Solos.

  • The Agitators are amazing, but surprisingly hard to use. Their Instigation bubble being a Special Action as well as their generally strong desire to be in the second line can sometimes lead to complicated turns with confusing order of operations. TK can help them get into place, but you have to know where you want to place them, as that’s 25% of your focus spent getting +2 to hit and +2 to damage where you want it. Their Sacrificial Pawn comes up rarely other than to be mentioned and then never used, either because the opponent waits until they are far enough away, or just kills them with melee. The 36 boxes just ins’t worth it.
  • The Dominator is a fantastic icing on the Cephalyx Cake. He’s able to take a number of models as his unit, and I really like the skills he is able to bring to the table. I categorically do not like Croes with him, and I swear by both the Tactical Arcanist Corps and the potential of the Nyss Hunters. Nyss provide a much needed two pronged asset coverage with both ranged attacks and pathfinder. Add in Deceleration, and you get a 19/13 model with ranged 12 bows! sounds great to me! The TAC provide the same reach with spells, and a bunker of smoke with smoke grenades.
  • Bloat thralls are, sadly, the same model they have always been. While I don’t think they will never be good, I just can’t find a good way to press whatever advantages they have. Their short range combined with slow speed means that they suffer an inordinate chance of hitting their own troopers with a powerful blast that will in all likelihood, kill them. Failing that, I have to keep any useful troopers outside of 2″ of him, in case the enemy decides to blow him off the board, which they will.
  • Pistol Wraiths, are, thankfully, the same model they have always been. Their ability to shut down heavies and do damage to infantry is fantastic in an army that has very few ways to neutralize something it can’t get to. The pistol wraith, weather singularly or in pairs, has yet to fail me in a game. They might get killed before they do anything, but that is one other model alive with which to cause problems.
  • Machine Wraiths are my surprise of the solo class. I’ve played them in a number of games, and have enjoyed them in almost every aspect. Even when there are no warjacks to take over, there will always be zones to hold an flags to contest. The ability of these little workhorses to do so much for a simple 1 point cost has been a great boon. I highly recommend picking up one or two for every Cephalyx force.

Overall, I think the solo selection is really fantastic. I had hoped that the feat and TK would help out the bloat thrall, but it simply highlighted its inaccuracy and its ability to destroy my own troops.

Units are a pretty simple thing to go over. Thankfully, I’ve been able to use them all extensively.

  • The Mind Slaver and Drudges unit is the main body of work for the army. Not only is it a single power higher, than the Mind Bender Drudges, the unit can charge and still be effective. They are almost always the second unit to activate, with the Mind Benders handing out Adrenal Flood to the foremost Drudges to get awesome charges off, or handing it to the back to get more into range. I keep unnecessarily worrying about their staying power, because MAT 7 P+S 15 is really, really good for a 4/6 unit, and I shouldn’t complain.
  • The Mind Bender and Drudges unit is the engine of the army. They enable clearing of troops, clearing of Jacks, and a ton of other work besides. As I have stated, the ability to get into the way, make attacks, and then be channeled out of the way right afterward is extremely helpful. Their need to put forth spells almost every turn means that this unit will go first and will burn itself up fairly quickly I am very curious to see if two units, and a potential for 6 Adrenal Flood/Psychic Assault/Detonations is worth it for the two more points. I get two more models in the exchange which will equate to two more spells over the course of the game. Extremely curious.
  • Overlords are one of the hate them or love em units in the army. They have been my saving grace, but also my weakness in the list. With the ability to cover almost any situation, they have a ton of capacity to be worth inserting them into every list. The times they become useless, though, they feel like a weight around your neck. I can see how, in areas and metas where Meat Mountain, Fist of Halaak, Runes of War and other multi-wound nastiness, the overlords are not loved. I had them tied up against a unit of Man o War for about an eternity because they just couldn’t break free. I still love them for their potential, but I completely get the strikes against them.

The units are the backbone, where the solos are the ligaments and the Monstrosities the Muscles. I am still tweaking how and what proportion of units I run, and am very solidly considering running 2 mins of each unit for flexibility. It might be terrible, but I am going to have to try it.

Cephalyx 2

Finally, the Brain of the Operation, in both form and function. Exulon Thexus, the Warcaster himself.

  • Exulon is, actually, a lot more passive than I had originally thought. Without an upkeep spell, and without any real answer to guns, he has very little options open to him when it comes to spending focus. Instead of casting a ton of cool spells every turn, I find myself casing Deceleration, fueling one Monstrosity, and either camping the final two, or casting a single TK. I have yet to actually, successfully, cast Influence, but I think that is just a pipe dream anyway. While the option is there, a range 10 spell that requires 3 rolls to succeed and does d3+1 damage to my Monstrosities just doesn’t seem worth it. I will instead just fuel one of said monstrosities up and let them have a go at the same targets, with less dice needing to be rolled. His feat is also coming up surprisingly useless. Maybe its the armies I am fighting or my piss poor timing of the feat, but I’ve not been able to catch a ton of models in the feat that enables me to actually call down the wrath of my army. I’ve got until September to try and get the perfect storm happening. Finally, Rampager has been somewhat of a disappointment, though it could be because I rarely think to use it because of the amount of Warmachine that I end up playing against. If I can ever get a Warpwolf Stalker backwards in front of my army, that’ll be the best day!

The army overall is fairly close to what I expected after reading the spoilers, but has some aspects I didn’t see coming. The Subduer just isn’t pulling its weight, and Thexus, for one, seems to be much less involved in the games I’ve played. I didn’t consider a Hex Blast Assassination as a thing until I did the math, but there are times when it’ll be very good to drop a pile of damage on their caster, provoking a flight or flight. The Warden seems to be the perfect arc node substitute, at 6 points, but his large base size and slow movement are really hampering him from being a good stand in.

I cannot wait for the next caster, and the final reveal of Thexus Theme list. I’m not sold on ambushing Drudges, but I’ll try them a time or two before I put them aside forever and ever. I’m also very likely going to end up picking up another Agitator and two more boxes of Drudges. I do not look forward to painting them, though they will likely be easier now that I have my palate pretty much picked out

If you come down to NOVA, make sure to hunt me down and get a game against the Cephalyx, who will hopefully be fully painted by then. finishing off the Overlords and Agitators sometime this week! Oh, and don’t forget to follow me on twitter for random tidbits and updates.

 

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!

 

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

Continue reading

The Cephalyx made another outing last week, this time against Butcher 3. His list was one I was not familiar with, but neither was his ‘Caster.

I’ve been having a rough time getting the Croe’s Cutthroats to work, but I wanted to give them another shot or two before I passed judgement on them and called them Terrible. This game was no better than the others for them, but I don’t think it was a really good matchup for them overall.

The Cephalyx list I’ve been running hasn’t changed, though I have some options on the board that I’ll be subbing in soon. For a refresher, the list is

Exulon Thexus+5
-Subduer7
-Warden6
-Wrecker7
Mind Slaver and Drudges (10)6
Mind Bender and Drudges (10)6
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Croes Cutthroats (10)10
-Cephalyx Dominator1
Bloat Thrall2
Cephalyx Overlords4
55
.

I really like the Concept of the list, so I’ll be leaving the core alone for some time.

 

His Butcher Unleashed list was

Butcher Unleashed+4
-Beast 0911
-Drago8
-War Dog1
Great Bears of Gallowswood5
Man-O-War Shocktroopers (5)9
Man-O-War Shocktroopers (5)9
Widowmakers4
Iron Fang Kovnik2
Manhunter2
Yuri the Axe3
55

The table was almost devoid of terrain. It has a single large building on my right side, and two smaller buildings about 20″ on on both sides left flank. Though got to choose, I stayed on the side with the large building because our armies were already out. It was a bad decision. The scenario was Incursion.

Deployment
He deployed both Shock Troopers to my left-center, with Drago nearly perfect center and the IFP Kovnick behind them both. Butcher 3, the Wardog and Beast 09 held the right.

I deployed the Wrecker to face both shock troops, with the Overlords to worry about that flag. The Warden was deployed to the far right to go after that flag, if needed. Centrally located was the Slavers to the left center and the benders to the right center. Dead center was Thexus and the Subduer. Agitators supported all three beasts.

Advanced Deployment
He deployed his Widowmakers and a Manhunter off to counter the Overlords, and Yuri on the far opposite flank, near my warder.

I deployed the Croes right center to get some shots in on the Shock Troopers under my feat.

The Game: 
Turn 1 on both sides consisted of mostly running and getting into position, though I did move a pair of Mind Bent Drudges off to support the Warden, expecting him to be charged by Yuri, and wanted to make sure he got cleared off. The overlords moved up and tried, all three, to spray the Manhunter who’d made it zipping across the board, but they left him alive. – The Flag on the left vanishes.

Using this for an arc node is stupid.

Using this for an arc node is stupid.

Turn 2 was the meat of the game, as it should be. He moved everything up into position to threaten my eventual central surge. I’d positioned my drudges near the Warden poorly, and Yuri got all three. The Manhunter charges into an Overlord and whiffs both attacks. Butcher 3 repositions more toward the center of the board and makes me super-nervous. I move Thexus up to grab almost all his Shocktroopers and feat, pulling the shieldwall apart. I TK Drago backwards into charge range of three supped up Mind Slaver Drudges. I manage to clog myself up really, really bad. Mind Benders stuck in the back. Subduer way to back to do any good, wrecker needed to run to get TK off, Agitator charges Yurri and on dice -3 manages to do 2 damage, leaving the Subduer engaged. Instead of Taking a free strike and getting the point that turn, I paste Yurri with the Warden. Croes gets some sweet shoots off, but between doing dice -7 on three dice to the Shock Troopers and needing 8’s to hit def 13 great bears, I just don’t get enough work done. I think I killed three Shocktroopers and a Great Bear. All the Agitators are jammed up and can’t get in deep enough to help the Adrenaline Overloaded Drudges kill Drago, and I leave him alive.

Turn 3 is the tipping point, with Beast 09 getting into the central fray, and the majority of the Shocktroopers still alive making it into my lines. The Widowmakers continue to harry my troops, picking off models exactly where they are needed. I can’t seem to make any tough rolls, but that’s how it goes sometimes. Croes gets whittled down, an overlord drops, and Drago manages to get cleared out and charge the Wrecker, mortally wounding it, but not killing it. I manage to make a strong reprisal, but its not good enough. I kill all of the Widowmakers and start driving into the Shocktroopers. The Wrecker kills Drago and then 3 more Shocktroopers, missing an attack at Mat 7. Whatever. I send three Adrenal Flooded Drudges into Beast, but I barely scratch the paint, even with the Agitator. I manage to take out the IFP Kovnik, and drop some shots into the Great Bears, but it seems not to matter, as they can’t die. I get my Agitator over to the right flag, with the warden back a bit to counter-charge whatever decided to get points.

Turn 4 is when the game ended, more or less. Butcher 3 charges the Agitator on the flag, casts impending doom on the too-close Warden, and ends them both after popping his feat, dominating the flag. The Great Bears charge the Wrecker and leave it in a pile of quivering chunks. Beast 09 sits in position and continues to give 0 shits about whatever is near him. A nearly complete unit of Shocktroopers sits near the center flag, refusing to die. I run the Bloat Thrall over to futilely contest and try and maybe kill some Argus with its death blast. The Subduer finally gets into position, and charges a damaged Beast 09 with two focus. Under the effects of the Agitator, with three attacks, one a charge, I feel fairly confident I can wreck it. Snake eyes on the charge and on the second bought attack put that plan to its miserable end, and with it any hope of winning. Butcher sits put, killing everything I can throw at him for 2 more turns and eventually wins on scenario.

Thoughts

I made that game a much harder fight than it needed to be. I don’t really have an answer to Butcher 3 that outhreats him, but man it would have been a better game if I didn’t have my head stuck so far into my anal crevice.

Error: I’m used to Cryx. When I point at a unit, any unit, it conveniently removes itself from the board. That is not how Cephalyx are going to work. I need to use the right tools to get the right jobs done. The right tool to take out Shocktroopers is definitely not POW 12 sprays. This error is especially grievous as it wasn’t even a unit I needed to worry about, as there was no flag nearby.

These guys don't kill Shocktroopers

These guys don’t kill Shocktroopers

Error: I bunched all three of my units into a 10″ area. This created over-burdened order of activation problems that I shouldn’t have needed to worry about. My Mind Bender Drudges were stuck behind the Mind Slavers, unable to participate except to give out Adrenal Flood. Let me tell you, its not worth it. I also clogged up two of my three Monstrosities, allowing his ‘jacks and Shocktroppers to choose the engagement.

Error: I ran the wrecker to get an unnecessary TK off. If I had held put and not gotten greedy, I could have been a lot more threatening late game. Drago would not have made it so that the wrecker took trivial amounts of work to kill.

Error: Popping feat turn 2. I had hopped to whittle down the Shocktroopers, but even Poison crossbow bolts don’t really worry ARM 17 8 wound troopers. I could have waited another turn to get more charges, sprays, and other damage in without much of a sacrifice.

Error: the warden was in Impending Doom range, and that was completely avoidable. I could have kept him way, way back.

I don’t want to take away from the game, though. My opponent played clean and without mistakes, and He capitalized on mine. It was a fantastic learning experience with my Cephalyx. Next time, I’ll try not to get all my stuff murdered and remember positioning.

Final thoughts.
The Cephalyx are a blast to play, but I need a ton more practice with them before I become a master. Heavy Arcnodes are not something you force, but something that you take advantage of, and getting greedy with it can make you pretty sad if you use your big beat stick. Croes, also, feel pretty bad. Soon here I am going to go with the double Pistol Wraith/TAC load out and see what I can do with that. I do have a strange desire to run Aiyanna and Holt instead, because Harm in that army will be off the chain. I have to worry about the Dominator being snipped out, but I have a Warden for that.

Till tomorrow!

I played, as I mentioned, a few games at lock and load with the new Cephalyx. These games were my basic 50 point list, and then I paired them down a bit for the two smaller games I got in.

I just wanted to share a couple observations that I had while playing them.

-My fears about them having their leaders sniped out from under them are relatively true. While its not going to happen from direct shots, Arc Nodes and AOE’s are going to require some very specific positioning in order to keep some of them alive long enough to matter.

-The Agitators are awesome on a stick. While they are able to instigate, and turn the below average troopers into elites, they also have a Magic Attack 7, LOS ignoring Pow 12 spray attack as well. With Sacrificial Pawn: Monstrosity they are unlikely to go down to shooting – everyone I played didn’t even bother. I will almost always have the Max FA, because they are solid even when they are not Instigating, and the redundancy makes me feel I can use one or two a bit more aggressively.

-Monstrosities are incredibly durable. Arm 17 doesn’t mean much in the world of Warmachine, but the 36 point damage grid really does, to the point that Pow 19 needs 4 hits to kill. Which equates to a Bronzeback, or a fully loaded Juggernaut that does not miss a single attack. That is not an easy task for every army, and  A single flubbed roll could either add an extra attack, and thus extra resources, or fail to kill it at all. In contrast, a Slayer dies to 3 attacks with 5 damage to spare. That is a ton of wiggle room mitigated by 8 more HP. Pow 18  pops it up to 5 attacks to kill, and this is where most damage I think about lies. 5 attacks is nothing to scoff at, especially when you’re looking into the face of mind benders and Mind Slaver Drudges along with at least two other Monstrosities sitting, waiting to maul you to death. Pow 18 gives you a little wiggle room to flub some damage, with 4 boxes to spare, but not a whole lot. Charge damage skews the number a bit, adding 3 more damage on average to a jack’s charging total, sometimes It’ll drop an attack off, and sometimes it wont. but even then, the extra attack needed to kill the Monstrosities can skew the math enough in your direction that they will over-correct and over commit, and I think that is a good thing.

I also tended to keep my monstrosities back behind my front line of drudges. They can’t eat a ton of ‘Jack or ‘Beast charges and live, but they sure can counterpunch with the best of em and I’d rather have them alive and kicking then eating charges to the face.

Thexus v. Goreshade III

Thexus v. Goreshade III

A quick thought on each unit/model

For being extremely maligned as a Cryx unit, the Mind Slaver and Drudge unit did very, very well. It could be that the Agiatators and the Mind Benders solve almost every problem they have, and that Thexus leaves them with only one – Speed. With the full compliment of buffs up and running, each Drudge is a MAT 7, P+S 15, Arm 17 against shooting, tough, eyeless sight, fearless model. Everything there is good!
They are, however, Painfully slow. This means that you’re never going to jam the opponent, and that you’re most likely going to be digging your way to a scenario win, as opposed to forcing it.  Thankfully, drudges are tough to kill, both literally and ability wise, and can really keep a scenario zone clogged. Combine with Thexus’ feat, TK and Pistol Wraiths, and you’ve got yourselves a good setup for grinding out attrition.

The Mind Bender unit is a blast to play, and supremely versatile. I enjoy the order of operations puzzle that is their activation every turn, and that you can both make attacks with, and spray/detonate from a drudge in a single turn. They are exceptionally great at freeing up charge lanes or moving Drudges into them, while still doing damage to the enemy. Agitators make these guys a fearsome MAT 7 and P+S 14, and that is nothing to scoff at. You will find yourself hard pressed to charge with the unit, as the Mind Bender can’t make his special actions or attacks if you do. That means that these guys are largely a secondary unit, and taking two of them could slow you down. If you’re looking at a third infantry unit, go Mind Slaver.

Cephalyx Overlords may be my favorite unit for the whole army, and I just used them as spray-bots. Magic Attack 7 and POW 12 is nothing to turn a blind eye to, and it is very easy to get 2+ in every spray. the TK, you can make sure You’ve got a good target, and with the feat you can bunch tough models up for multiple sprays. I even used anatomical precision when I couldn’t risk the hard 8 to loose the game. I can’t say enough good things about this unit, and I’m seriously considering a second unit. It depends on the rest of Thexus’ Theme force.

The Dominator is extremely hit or miss, and for me, he’s been missing. Both games I played him in Croe and his cutthroats were pretty lackluster. Agitators don’t work on them, Mind benders can’t explode them, and the Dominator doesn’t have a spray. I’m looking for a different unit, but I am also trying to get more games in with them first. Maybe I’ll get a juicy target for backstabbing poisons here soon and feel real good about myself.

The Agitator is the glue that holds the army together and the machine that makes it hum. I thought that getting the +2/+2 aura would be hard, but its really, exceedingly easy. With the armies slow speed and the durability of your front line troops, having three Agitators running around the back lines of your army applying the +2/+2 wherever you want is trivial. Four in Thexus’ theme force is going to be bonkers. On top of all of that, they also have influence in a pinch, and Psychic Assault. I was using Psychic Assault repeatedly over the course of the game to remove pesky models or clear off Monstrosities so that they could get out and do some damage (with another Agitator instigating!). Not only the best solo/model, but also the most fun to play, and amazingly realized and sculpted to boot.

Now we get to the Meat and Potatoes of the army – The Monstrosities.

The Warden is by far my favorite sculpt, but sadly not my favorite in usefulness. Its good, don’t get me wrong. None of the Monstrosities are bad, but its not really the protection piece it screams out to be. I played it very much like a Titan Gladiators little brother, and it worked well that way. Grand Slam and Follow up can be a really good tactic for getting models out of zones and knocking other models down for either the Warden to finish off, or for other models to do for it. That extra armor, too, makes it much more durable, adding a complete attack on to kill it, most days.

Cephalyx 2

The Wrecker is the obvious front runner for best Monstrosity, as its the work horse of them. P+S 19, Reach, Beat Back and Chain Attack- Bloodbath is enough rules for one day, let alone the massive amount of punishment it takes to get put down. Provided it can get there, it will be the bane of ‘Jacks, ‘Beasts, Cav and heavy infantry. Its as good in action as it is on paper. Its also not as hard to keep in the 5″ Agitator bubble as it would seem, as he can reach out to 9″ past the Agitator and still be getting the bonus’

The Subduer is my call for most underrated, and I can see why. Its not the same type of beat stick or utility that either other Monstrosity is, but I really like it. Hanging back and waiting for the opportune time to reach out and net someone, or just someone close enough to the target, while absorbing bullets meant for Thexus and the Agitators is just a really good role to have. Towards the end of the game, when all that is left is the remnants of the opponents army, its going to be nice to have a Subduer in your pocket.

Exulon Thexus is probably one of the most fun casters that I’ve ever played. he’s got all of the tools to make the army hum, a damage spell he can toss two off out, and a feat that’s just a blast. I did find, however, that getting his spells channeled was a lot harder than I’d initially expected.Every time I wanted an arcnode there, I also wanted that heavy to be doing something afterward. I think running my Monstrosities forward/center might help this a bit, but I will have to give it a whirl. Even if he is just sitting back, biding his time for the feat and fueling Monstrosities, I think he is doing his job. Monstrosities get a ton of work done, and he will keep them going all.Night. Long.

Lastly, I want to talk about the Cryx solos. they don’t quite count as Cephalyx, but they are allowed in the contract so it makes sense to talk about them. First, the Bloat Thrall, which I did use. Its a mobile artillery piece that seems to fail more often than it succeeds and has some terrible threat range Issues, however I still want to keep at it. Its a solid 2 pt piece that helps with infantry clearing that makes the Monstrosities jobs that much easier.

Second, the Pistol Wraith. I’ve used more than my fair share in Cryx, and he’s a stellar, if finicky piece. Deceleration helps that immensely, putting him up to def 16 and arm 14 against any magical guns. He gets two shots for 3 points, but they are powerful and accurate shots,  so its positively worth it. What really puts the icing on the cake though is Death Chill. Combined with TK and the feat, it is extremely possible to pull a model completely out of contention and then make sure It either acts or gets back into the think of things.

Finally, the Machine Wraith. For a single point, you can do much worse than a nearly invincible zone contender, and combined with Rampager, it can give Thexus play against both Warmachine and Hordes. Its a solid pickup if you’ve got the single point floating around.

I’ll be getting a game in with them tomorrow, and I’ll be sure to write it up. I’ll very likely be using the army through August, so stay tuned for even more.