Makeada

 

A Flush of Games

After a number of weeks getting a few games in here and there, the tail end of last week was just chock full of Skorne. While I didn’t do as well as I would like, I can feel myself climbing up that understanding ladder. I’ve got a pretty solid grasp of fist, and Mordikaar, through 10 games, is coming along smoothly.

I’m going to walk through them like I normally do, and I’ll put some of the pictures up here. I played fist twice, during the tournament, and Mordikaar 4 times. Fist performed admirably, but Mordikaar is a very high ceiling caster that I’m just starting to understand.

To that end, I played Mordikaar first as preparation for Philly games con. I’d managed to set up two games in two different stores thursday night, and was ready to break him out.

My Mordikaar list, as I’ve been talking about, was

Mordikaar
-Tiberion
-Cyclops Shaman
-Cyclops Raider
Nihilators (full)
Cetratii (full)
-Vorkesh
Incindiarii (min)
Beast Handlers (min)
Agonizer
Soulward

Specialist
Krea
Orin Midwinter
Tyrant Commander and Standard

 

A Pirates Life

The first game I had set up was against a friend of mine who wanted to try out the pirate Boat, which was fine with me. I’d brought the Mordikaar list to eliminate swarms. We rolled up the scenario, and got outflank Outflank

 

This is a scenario I am deeply familiar with, having played a ton of games last year leading up to lock and load with the Coven. I ended up getting first turn, and deployed fairly standard. His army had

Shae
-Galleon
Aiyana and Holt
Press Gangers (min)
Sea Dog Crew (max)
Sea Dog Crew (Max)
-Mr. Walls
Sea Dog Deck Gun
Devils Shadow Mutineers
Bosun Grogspar
Dirty Meg
Doc Killingsworth
First Mate Hawk
Lord Rockbottom

Opening Moves

He deployed the Galleon to my center-left, along with the Deck Gun. To the right was Shae, all the support solos, Aiyana and Holt, and the one unit of Sea Dogs.

I Deployed the Cetratii Front and Center, with Incindiarii covering my left, along with Tiberion. To the right went the Nihlators. Behind all of that was Mordikaar and all the support.

He AD’d the press gangers to the left, and walls unit to the right, gunning for both flanks and threatening up to 28″ on turn 1!

Turn one, for me, as a touch of a cautious advance, knowing that If I was to aggressive, he could pop feat turn 1 and get a bit into my lines. I wanted to see if I could get him with the feat turn 2, so I could have a bit of a better position. Thankfully, thats exactly what happened, as he rushed across the board, but didn’t feat. 

Middlegame

I took my second turn and ran full bore into the guts of the board, popping my feat and flooding my right zone. My incindiarii wandered over and tried to pop some pressgangers but failed to do anything but light them on fire, which was just fine. Under Feat and Hollow, I was pretty confident that I would be able to weather the pirate storm.

Thankfully, I was able to do just that. Though I lost models on the feat turn, it was an acceptable number, and mitigated by my ability to revive come the next turn. Both zones were contested, and the Galleon wasn’t yet committed, so I was unable to really get ahead on scenario. Instead, we traded pot shots back and forth, where I was able to remove Zira, and thanks to Nihlators being undead with Hollow, he wasn’t able to return any to life.

Final Moments

Have you ever been so greedy in a game for the assassination that you know isn’t going to work, but you can’t stop yourself for the desire to make it work. I have! at the end of his turn 3, Shae was in the woods, almost in the center of the table. I had the Shaman, the Raider, and the Soulward ready to take him down. Sadly, he’s DEF 19 in the woods, and that’s just not really an achievable target. For shame, though, I went for it, and started with the worst model possible, Mordikaar. I resurrected two Nihilators, snipped myself, and boosted my gun into the woods, needing 12’s. Unsurprisingly, I failed. I had one more fury on me and felt that if I could drop some damage into him, he’d play a little defensive, so I boosted the damage after I missed. Ah well, I’ll get him with the Raider, who needed boosted 12’s using eyeless sight from the Soulward to ignore the forest. He, too, missed. At that point I aborted, not feeling I had enough steam left, and sent the last shot from my Shaman into First Mate Hawke, who I had come to realize was within stab distance of Mordikaar. Sadly, the Evil Eye went wide as well, and all I had left was to hope that my opponent didn’t realize that Hawke was in charge range. Sadly, that didn’t happen, and even after remembering that she doesn’t have pathfinder, she still was in range to kill Mordikaar.

Which she did handily.

Game: 300
Result: L
Mordikaar Record: 4-2-1

I let my bloodlust get ahead of me there, and I should have kept playing the correct game for scenario. Instead, my opponent capitalized on my greed and put two swords into the top of Mordikaars noggin.

Fresh from the loss, I took off up north a bit to another local store, and got in a game there against a good friend who loves himself some Butcher three.

His list was
Butcher 3
-Ruin
Wardog
Greylord Ternion
Iron Fang (Max)
-Black Dragon Standard and Officer
Kayazy Assassins
-Underboos
Widowmakers
Epic Eiryss
Fenris
Drakhun
Saxon Orrik

This time, I have pictures!
We rolled up the same scenario as before, and he took first turn. See Deployment below:

Opening Moves

B3 V. Mordikaar

Our turn 1 took on the standard run and position game, with me popping my feat to protect from the inevitable turn 2 clash. It saved me a bit, keeping the Kayazy away, but I gave it all up the next turn. I faded back from the left zone in fear of the kayazy killing everything I know and love, and I paid dearly for it.

Me fatally fading from the zone.

From here on out, I think it was just formalities. I was pushing for the zone with the wrong models, leaving the left zone completely open to domination and swinging the game for the win to butcher 3.  With the Kayazy coming into the left zone, and the tough Nihlators holding the right, I think I should have committed whole hog to the Kayazy zone. They can only kill so much before they run out of steam.

Honestly, writing this up, I think I am much more timid than I need to be with Skorne. Going second is something that can really cause your head to turn inside out as you figure out how and where you can apply force without getting completely hammered. Its not an easy task, even with Cetratii. This game was a ton more fun and a lot closer than I make it seem, but I think it simply boiled down to me not having the capacity or concept to contest both of the zones while making a bid for the game in and of itself

Game: 301
Result: L
Mordikaar Record: 4-3-1

With those two games down, and a portent of doom on my shoulder, I headed into the crucible of Philly GamesCon on Saturday. I was extremely excited  to go up there and play outside my meta, as well as seeing a couple friends I’ve not seen in a while. I brought out the Fist and Mordikaar, even though I wasn’t very confident with him, and took to the road. The trip was long and grueling (I don’t particularly enjoy driving), but I was thrilled to get there and start in it.

My first round was against another Skorne player bringing Mordikaar and, honestly, I can’t remember the other list. However, it was a novel Mordikaar list he chose to drop against me, and I chose Fist, thinking that they would have the endurance and capacity to absorb the inital assault.

Mordikaar
-Krea
-Despoiler
-Titan Gladiator
Preatorian Keltarii (max)
Pain Giver Beast Handlers (min)
Ferox (Max)
Tyrant Commander and Standard
Agonizer
Rhadiem
Void Spirit

We were playing Two Fronts, and I think he went first.

Two Fronts

I’ll just be upfront here, as I have no pictures, but I got crushed. He was on his game, and just brutalized me. This Mordikaar list is fast, agile and can really put a hurt on everything you know and love from the start of the game. Ferox are amazing Revive targets, and Keltarii are giant problems when hollowed. My preference for a battlegroup is a bit different, but I can definitely see why he has what he has.

Sadly, I left his zone completely uncontested for almost the entirety of the match, simply letting him dominate while I putzed around on the other side of the board. He sent in Void Spirits and Rhadiem around the edge, tying up the Incindiarii and Karn, who, though eventually freed, were pretty solidly removed from the game. I was able to pop the feat and rocket Karn into Despoiler, taking him down under fury, the feat, and enrage. I also was close enough after sidestep to smash the gladiator close to oblivion. Sadly, Karn had sustained too much damage from his early assault, and died from the gladiator attack in retaliation.

The Keltarii were the real problem in the match, as they dug in so deep on turn 2, jamming past my friendly zone and stalling out the Cetratii. I wasn’t really able to leverage any of the Arcuarii well or even get good incindiarii shots, as the only good targets were Keltarii at defense 15!  Honestly, after suffering from their hands this game, I am swapping out my Nihilators for Keltarii immidiatly. If they don’t work, then I’ll go back, but I really think they are what I want and need in that list!

Game: 302
Result: L
Xerxis Record: 11-12-1

My next opponent was a minions player who dropped Maelok. Knowing that it was gators, I dropped fist. We were playing on a trench table, and I am extremely happy that I have pictures, because trying to describe this would have been insane.  We were playing Recon:

Recon

 

 

His list was

Maelok
-Bull Snapper
-Bull Snapper
Wrong Eye and Snap Jaw
Gatorman Posse (max)
Gatorman Posse (max)
Gatorman Posse (max)
Croak Hunter
Croak Hunter
Gatorman Witchdoctor
Gatorman Witchdoctor
Bellows Crew
Feral Giest
Feral Giest

And, the table:

The Trench Board

Man, This game was a slog! A million boxes on both sides as Fist and Gators just slam in the center for almost the whole time.

Round 2 I was able to use the Arcuarii to drag two of the Gatorman Posse leaders forward and put three total gators out of formation. It was an interesting technique, and one I may use again against warders or champions.

The game came down, after many rounds of grinding, to a scrum, once again, on my side of the board. I need to find a way to commit better and stronger than my current half assed semi-determination. Thankfully, he commited Maelok just a little to forward and I was able to get a Furied, enraged Gladiator on to Maelok. Feat turn or not, with three transfers or not, I should be able to drop him, or at least make his Beasts sad that they danced the dance. Needing 8’s to hit, I boost to hit on the charge attack, and connect. Unfortunately, the dice were not cooperating, and my roll came up almost as low as it could: 1,1,1 and 2 for column. Well, thats alright. I have another fist. Damage: 1,2. Ok. Tusks! boost to hit here, and do… 1 more damage. He took 7 and still sat on 3 fury, so my Arcuarii charging was just not going to get that last blow in to kill him. With one fury and Defenders Ward, Xerxis prepared to take a whole bunch of gators to the face. And boy did he!

Xerxis tank!

Three Charging Gators later – Two revived by Maelok, and I thankfully don’t have to say that I lost the game because I forgot to put up Defenders Ward on Xerxis. I didn’t even need the transfer, thankfully. The Gladiator decided to do his job this time, and pummeled poor Maelok to death!

Game: 303
Result: W
Xerxis Record:12-12-1

I’ve got two more games to go, but I’ll save that for another time, I am sure that this getting long winded as it is. I will, however, leave you with pictures of the games:

Makeada

 

The Decision 

Its final! The tournament I’ve been excited for is right around the corner. Philly Games Con is coming up this weekend, and I’ll be making my way north for an awesome day of warmachine. In addition, I’ll be hanging out with some guys I almost never get to see, so I am stoked about going. It looks to be a solid 4 rounds of gaming.

That said, I have finalized my lists. I am, 100%* taking Fist of Halaak and Mordikaar to this tournament. 50 points, 10 points of specialists, and deathclock make this exactly my type of tournament.

On Specialists

I freaking love the rule, honestly, and I have found it to be one of the most underused and unappreciated variants in Warmachine. It only makes perfect sense, to me. Many times, or at least often enough to be concerning, the game comes down to list chicken. My list A is favorable against our list B, but unfavorable against Your list C, and My list D is favorable against C,m but unfavorable against C. We are both in a position where there are two good games on the docket, and two poor ones. Avoiding poor games should be one of the goals of a game and tournament system. I think specialists cover that gap extremely well. With those models in reserve, you can, while not confident, still make a choice and have a game of it. Being able to swap out 20% of your army (10pts) is significant, and can turn a game around simply on its own, pulling you up from a 20%  loss to a 40% and saving the game from being a steamroll.

A Tale of Two Fists

My Primary list is going to be Fist of Halaak. Its got the beef, its got the brawn, and it is a bastard to many lists. It is, however, extremely boring to play. Maybe not extremely, but its bad. I don’t think I’ll be relying on it as a drop against everything, but I can see that it has game, even when I mis-drop it.

To that affect, however, I am in a strange predicament: Both of my lists want Vorkesh, either in the side board or in the main list. This lead me to create a strange and non-standard specialist list.

The main list is your standard Fist of Halaak. Its got beater beasts, durable troops and Xerxis. Simple and easy

Tyrant Xerxis
-Molik Karn
-Gladiator
Cataphract Cetratii (6)
Cataphract Arcuarii (4)
Cataphract Arcuarii (4)
Cataphract Incindiarii (4)
Cataphract Incindiarii (4)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (4)
Tyrant Commander and Standard.

Specialists
Venetor Cannon Crew
Venetor Cannon Crew
Venetor Catapult Crew
Tyrant Commander + Standard Bearer

Objective: Ammo Dump

This list functions just fine without specialists, so I want to be able to capitalize on them if and when its needed. In this case, I would swap out the Gladiator and the Paingivers or both Incindiarii for the whole of the Specialists if it came up on a scenario with the objective. I’d have to look at my opponent and assess which aspect I didn’t need: Either raw muscle, because I am facing something like Butcher with all the High Def Infantry, or the AOE’s because I am fighting either Meat Mountain or some other form of beef.

A Flayer Cannon (pow 12) firing at a wall of warders (arm 19) with boosted damage will be doing pow 24 hits on average, popping up to 3 warders with 5 damage each. The second cannon is only managing 3 damage a pop, but its still completely worth it. Against anything but Meat Mountain, the catapults pow 19 hits are going to be extremely scary, even on a deviation.

The extra Tyrnat Commander will allow much of my force to get into the fray quicker, or threaten deeper, than most other forces, and while I am not sold on this (tell me what you think) I figure its a better swap out than most, and can even come to my benefit if we end up at around 50% objective scenarios. Sadly, I won’t be able to take advantage of the Tier 3 bonus for the tier when I swap, but I’d otherwise be stuck with them no matter what, and I just don’t see enjoying that.

If I don’t go with that formation, I am going to go with the following:

Tyrant Xerxis
-Molik Karn
Cataphract Cetratii (6)
Cataphract Arcuarii (4)
Cataphract Arcuarii (4)
Cataphract Arcuarii (4)
Cataphract Incindiarii (4)
Cataphract Incindiarii (4)
Tyrant Commander and Standard
Tyrant Commander and Standard
Venetor Cannon Crew

Specialists
Titan Gladiator
Pain Giver Beast Handlers (4)

Objective: Arcane Wonder

Here the Goal is to pop in the Gladiator and Handlers almost every time. The only time I wouldn’t consider it is if the opponent won’t have anything even remotely heavy on the other side of the board. Most times, It’ll be the Arcuarii, Venetor and Tyrant Commander that are removed, but sometimes, if there is a dire need for face-smashing, it could easily be both units of Incindiarii or one of each. This list is probably my favorite manifestation of the fist of Halaak, enabling it to overcome quite a pile of obstacles.

The Void Lord

My second list is going to be Mordikaar, simply because I have a few games under my belt and understand him a little more. Besides, I love the model I painted up.

So, the list I’ve brewed up is pretty damn normal.

Void Seer Mordikaar
-Tiberion
-Cyclops Shaman
-Cyclops Raider
Cataphract Cetratii (6)
-Tyrant Vorkesh
Cataphract Incindiarii (4)
Nihilators (10)
Agonizer
Extoller Soulwarden
Paingiver Beast Handlers (4)

Specialists
Krea
Tyrant Commander and Standard
Swamp Gobbers
Orin Midwinter

This is a fairly straightforward list that is moderately bent to the meta I exist within (which, to be fair, isn’t where I am going to be playing). There is very little shooting where I play, or that which is is lightweight, so I can generally get away without a Krea, and I find the Shaman more utility with a rat 5 range 10+ magical Phantomhunter gun, dispel, the ability to Bump or Snipe Himself and his magical reach weapon. The raider, however, is specifically fit for my area, where there seems to be a load of vital support and stealth. This one piece can turn some of the enemies plans on their head, blowing up Gorman, Orin, or even Eiyriss with an average roll. The fact that he give Mordikaar and the shaman the ability to do serious work with their guns is a strong synergy that enables me to blow out key models when and where I need them. Recently, I added in the Extoller Soulward, who will enable my Cyclops Shaman to really do work if he needs to, ignoring Stealth, Cover, concealment and LOS  in order to get to those pesky solos. These support pieces have come invaluable in the few games I have played, and I look for them to be even more so.

However, when it comes down to it, I need this list to be able to tank shooting, too, and my specialists enable just that. The Raider is easily swapped out for the Krea and the Gobbers if the need arises, and will enable me to cover some 16+ inches of the board with Paralytic Auras between Mordikaar, the Krea and the Shaman, and a 5″ cloud for +2 defense with the Gobbers. Vorkesh comes out and is replaced with The Tyrant commander if there isn’t a need for Spell Ward, allowing the Cetratii to benefit from Ghost Walk and/or Press forward when needed, and the Agonizer comes out for Orin in games where he is simply not going to be needed. Mordikaar is nuts with specialists, and I love it.

The Specialist Key

What I see as the key to specialists is the ability to know ahead of time what you are going to swap out and why, so you don’t get bogged down with the details of their lists. Having these modules that you can plug in and play matter both to you being able to plan for the inevitable swap up and know your plan for what happens when you do.

I encourage you to explore specialists, and give them a chance. If I was to guess, I’d say that they are the way of the Future!

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!

 

 

Contents
  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!

 

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.

 

Xerxis has always, always, been my favorite Skorne Caster. His spells are good, his feat is awesome, and the amount of punishment he can dish out is unbelievable to my Cryxian eyes. He was pretty good in MK I, but his MK II Incarnation really connected with me, and I was able to settle in on a really nasty list after a few failed incarnations.

Tyrant Xerxis+5
-Gladiator8
-Krea4
-Cyclops Shaman5
-Aptimus Marketh3
Cataphract Cetratii (6) 11
Nihilators (10)8
Tyrant Commander and Standard3
Venator Reivers (10)9
-Venetor Officer and Standard2
Paingiver Beast Handlers (3)2

This list’s whole purpose is to give you nothing but bad choices. The Venators and Tyrant Commander deploy on the weak flank and run turn one, getting into position. The Cetratii and the Nihlitors take front and center, getting up the field as best they can, with Defenders Ward on the Cetratii. Turn two is when it really heats up, as I hot swap the Defenders ward on to the Nihilitors, leaving one behind the wall of Cetratii, and move the Venators 8″ up the flank and start peppering the soft spots of the army. The Nihliitors run in to stall the army, with the Beasts, Cetratii, and Xerxis taking up spots to both smash into the center of the army and start picking up scenario. The battle then shifts to the opponent, who has to make a dire choice: clean off and eliminate the Nihlitors, and try to fight the durable, killing center while getting shot at from the side and behind, or turn to attack the Venators and have the Pain Train slam into the center of the board. Neither of these is good, and its a fun game for me every time.

Gargantuans brought us the release of the Cataphract Incindiarii, and a new list is gaining in relevancy for Xerixis to work with. Welcome, to the 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

This army, in all its iterations, focuses on flooding the field with medium based, durable models, and this thrills me to no end. I’ve wanted for a very long time to be able to do this. Its going to be an incredibly entertaining list to run.

 

What this list brings to the table is a solid wall of force. Xerxis brings his feat and Fury to the Party, allowing a unit of Arcuarii to get to P+S 15 with 5 dice on the charge.  With 12 floating around on the board, you only need 5 to kill a colossal. He also brings Inhospitable Ground, for those moments that a Bane Thrall charge would ruin your day, and you need to make sure they burn another round.

Strangely, this list limited to only three units also has almost all its bases covered. It has 12, 8 wound, POW 12 weaponmasters; 7 arm 20, 8 wound shieldwallers; Tiberion; and it has 10 AOE 3 auto-fire templates.The Tyrant Commanders and Xerxis bring three sources of both Pathfinder and Press Forward, with a bonus of two reveille’s when called on. Its decently durable, with needing to damage roll of 23 to take out even the lowliest Cataphract.

The largest worry I have in this list is that I only have one beast, but that beat is Tiberion, who I have heard is really good. He should be able to wreck whatever I want him to, honestly, but I have to keep him safe, as its almost never good to trade him when its my only beast. Enough people have discussed that there is enough good stuff in this list to justify only one beast that I’m willing to do it.

The minimum units are there to maximize the points gained by the theme list. With each Cataphract unit being -1 pc, I pick up 6 points over a traditional list here, which I used to get the two Tyrant Commanders.

The largest contention point here is going to be Vorkesh. He’s a solid three point solo, but he comes with a pretty huge penalty of Spell Ward to his unit, the Cetratii, who are just begging to be Def 14/ARM 22. I’ve also read that most of the times that people have died with Xerxis is when they didn’t have Defenders Ward on him, pulling his stat line from a humble 13/18 to a more respectable 15/20. Removing the temptation to even try that from my list feels right, and just might win me the game. Pow 13 Weaponmaster under the feat with precision strike can really cause some havoc.

Xerxis

I really like that it asks a ton of questions of your opponents armies. Can they Crack high armor, ’cause Tiberion can be a 25 on the feat turn, and most dudes are sitting at 17. Can they take a beating, ’cause my whole army is MAT 7 and most of its weaponmasters. Can you deal with fire, because I am going to toss up to 10 Fire causing AOE’s out there, and it could get ugly. Finally, did you bring Pathfinder, because I have Inhospitable Ground.

After two or more months of playing the Cephalyx, I am going to be looking for a change of pace, and once NOVA comes around and I turn the page to a new army, I think this is going to be just up my alley. I’ve been told its not as simple to run as it seems, so I look forward to figuring it out. I’m about as stoked about this list as I can be, without having played it.

I do need to pick up a second Tyrant Commander, a second box of Incindiarii, and two more boxes of Arcuarii, but the beauty of the whole army will be worth it.

Now, what to pair it with in a tournament? Maybe Trevor Christiansons Rasheth + 6 Titans list!