Despite my ability to consume rules and absorb them pretty steadily, I do have a problem in seeing the best way out on the table. Often, This is because I am focused on wining the game in the most expedient way possible, and not necessarily taking a long view and looking at the end state of the game, and where it can lead me.
Well, I was, in MK II. with the release of third and finally having some dozen games under my belt, I’m starting to see what I’m doing wrong, on a much more macro level than I was previously, and I hope this is the start of the pull out of this miserable tailspin I’ve been in. I want to take a look at the Coven first, how I’ve been misplaying them, and how I see my game evolving with them.
I’ve talked a lot about the Coven recently, and its because I really like digging deep into a casters bag of tricks, and I think the Coven has an extremely stolid stable. I’ve mentioned I’m much better at execution than theory or dojo, and unfortunately, that often means that I don’t quite understand a casters ins and outs as quickly as I would like. I have to run into a scenario, see how it plays out in that certain situation, and then extrapolate that out in the future. For a caster as complex and diverse as the Coven, this can be doubly so. Only now, in the past two games am I starting to gain some clarity.
sadly, these last two games were not in a tournament, where I could rain glory and awesomeness upon my fellow teammates and help them all achieve glorious victory. Instead, they came at the local store against two strong players with strong casters: Wormwood and Vayl 2. While Vayl may have lost some of her potency, she still had enough vigor coursing through her blood to display your insides like a Warhol painting. I don’t think it comes as any coincidence, either, that this was the same time I changed up the list to accommodate a different style than I’d been engaged in prior.
My original list figured some Satyxis raiders – Fast and Plentiful, they could really hit a sweet spot in the list, but after some trial runs with them, I booted them for Satyxis Blood Witches. Now, the Satyxis are getting the final boot right out of the list.
For reference, this is the list I had been tinkering with, and liked a lot.
The Witch Coven of Garlghast
Blackbanes Ghost Raiders x10
Satyxis Blood Witches x10
-Satyxis Blood Witch Blood Hag
It is a list I like a lot, even though I’ve ended up tossing it in the garbage. 14″ threat on the Kraken is a stupendous threat range, and can give an extremely hard eye at an entire Kill Box. The Withershadow Combine was a later addition (Took out a Deathripper and Scarlock to get it), but their assistance has been completely vital, assisting with either the Kraken or the Coven, as needed, and casting ghost walk, and though it has not come up yet, I am sure that the Kraken having magic guns will come in handy against someone. Orin and the Necrotechs have been MVP’s, allowing placement of high explosive models as well as causing consternation with opponents trying to take down the Kraken in a single go.
It was the units, though, That I found to be lacking. Even though they are simply two of my favorite, and perhaps best, units in the game, I’ve been unable to really capitalize on them in a way that I’ve found to be useful.
The Plan with the Coven was to have them act as my answer to a gun line. They under performed.
The main problem with the Coven into guns isn’t that they cannot survive, they can – 5″ LOS is completely brutal in an 18″ control area – but that their troops cannot close the gap. 5″ is a funny number to have chosen, especially with their spell Occultation and the ability to have the caster under stealth as well. If the opponent is allowed to see you, he is allowed to shoot you, and that can be extremely bothersome. This has lead to a strange dichotomy, where my troops aren’t faster, even with LOS blocking to 5″, than a walking gun line. While it might not be the best for them, I’ve found that while -2 to both Mat and Rat is extremely strong, it hasn’t seemed to matter. My opponents, under my feat, will still manage to remove the vast majority of the army that they can, through whatever means, draw line of sight to. Because both my units were speed 6, Blackbane with apparition, they were unable to capitalize on the LOS reduction. Blood Witches can’t threat past Walk + Shoot, and Blackbanes have .5″ leeway. The solution was to simply get faster.
So, I created this list, simple and sleek.
The Witch Coven of Garlghast
The though here is that this list fairs well against both melee and ranged lists. With a charging threat of 14″ on the Soulhunters and the Kraken, I can leap into the kill box and pop feat, putting the opponent in an extremely awkward position. Stay out of the kill box and give me points, or stay in and be threatened by my whole army. The Kraken out threats most models when they are denied LOS to it, which is no easy task, and the Soulhunters all threaten the same distance. Curse of Shadows and Stygian Abyss can help with Hitting and or Armor, whichever is needed, as well as eliminating stray solos. Orin keeps his ass glued to the Kraken to prevent him being debuffed, and within 3″ of the Egregore to prevent any unwanted spells leaking over towards that direction.
While its not worked perfectly, I lost both games, I have felt more comfortable playing these models. I’m eating the hell out of my clock, honestly, and I just have to figure out how to not do that while also getting what I need done during each turn. The big revelation was that of my caster, and possibly the games, function. I cannot assassinate.
Let me refine that.
I Cannot end the game with a surprise and unexpected death of a Warcaster on the other side of the board. I do not consider the death of a caster through attrition and strong scenario play, such that they are forced to make bold, moves with deadly repercussions or loose, to be an assassination. That is the game ending. Assassination is removing the caster from the game prior to a complete and worthwhile game. I loved assassination because it allowed me to make sure I didn’t loose the game from my own pure, unbridled, stupidity.
This is no longer the world we live in. Camping a couple focus prior, out of accident, would save you from 2, maybe 3 damage. Often, a “good” assassination run would be netting around life +1 or +2, so even with a focus/fury on a caster, you’d be able to take them out of the game with a well timed and executed assault. With but a single focus, I need to go from life +1 to Life +5, and sometimes, that extra damage just isn’t there. That revelation, when I assaulted Wormwood with everything I had, under optimal conditions, and he was still able to shrug off the assault, has lead to to change tack and try a different set of goals.
The Kraken isn’t a gun-assassination platform like it was in my Glory days of its use. Now, its a bully. With 14″ range for its melee, every turn it points itself at the greatest threat on the board, stays 14″ out, and dares it to come forward so it can be consumed. The soulhunters try and run roughshod over the infantry and threaten beasts and jacks with pow 15 charges.
This MK III, its a different game. One in which I am playing a faction that used to be assassination and question based with a strongly attrition and solution based bent. Its interesting, and I think I like it. I just have to get used to the way the game is playing now, and hopefully can pick my horrific record out of the dumpster and give it a little bit of CPR.