Rust is Thicker than Once Believed (Game 1)

On Saturday the 28th, I had a bunch of friends over to play Warmachine/Hordes. This is a semi-regular event that a couple friends and I have had for maybe 5 years now. We rotate between half of us going northward to play at one of those houses, and half of them venturing southward to play at one of the houses down here closer to the city. The group is fairly diverse, and we cover almost every faction among the 5 of us. We try to set up a few tables, get breakfast at a local spot, and then get to gaming. We brought in a 6th this time around, just to make sure we were all up to evens.

My Gator buddy pairs up against one of my Khador friends, The Rhulic and Protectorate player square off, and I sit down across the table from my friend playing Retribution. Its his first time out with his fully painted 50 point force, expanded from the battlebox, and its my fourth full game in three weeks. I normally like to stick with one caster, but after the pounding at Critical Hits I figured I’d Switch it up. I have this spreadsheet I keep about all my fights, and its got a ton of information on it. I figured it was time I took the casters on the bottom and tried to get more games in with them. Who was on the bottom of this list? Witch Coven.

Casters Played
Number of Games%
Epic Haley239.70%
Naaresh198.02%
Xerxis198.02%
Epic Asphyxious187.59%
Epic Skarre166.75%
Barnabus156.33%
Epic Goreshade156.33%
Asphyxious 3125.06%
Scaverous125.06%
Skarre114.64%
Epic Hexeris104.22%
Terminus104.22%
Epic Magnus83.38%
Rasheth72.95%
Mortenebra62.53%
Magnus62.53%
Venethrax52.11%
Hexeris41.69%
Mordikaar41.69%
Asphyxious31.27%
Haley31.27%
Maelok20.84%
Bart10.42%
Epic Deneghra10.42%
Zaal10.42%
Morghul10.42%
Epic Morghul10.42%
Fiona10.42%

So I spun up a Quick list:
The Witch Coven of Garlghast (*5pts)
* Nightwretch (4pts)
* Nightwretch (4pts)
* Kraken (19pts)
* Skarlock Thrall (2pts)
Bane Knights (Leader and 9 Grunts) (10pts)
The Withershadow Combine (5pts)
Bane Lord Tartarus (4pts)
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist (2pts)
Necrotech & 1 Scrap Thrall (1pts)
Warwitch Siren (2pts)
Warwitch Siren (2pts)

The concept is simple:
I wanted to use the Kraken, my newly converted Bane Knights, and my brand new Gorman. I also though that making the coven as focus efficient as possible would be a blast. That is about as far as the list construction went, and It was really obvious as the day went on. My opponent, as I had mentioned, decided to take his now fully painted Retribution army for a spin.

Kaelyssa, Night’s Whisper (*7pts)
* Chimera (6pts)
* Banshee (10pts)
* Manticore (8pts)
* Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker (2pts)
Dawnguard Sentinels (Leader and 9 Grunts) (9pts)
* Dawnguard Sentinel Officer & Standard (2pts)
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt (4pts)
Mage Hunter Strikeforce (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Mage Hunter Commander (2pts)
Arcanist (1pts)
Arcanist (1pts)
Mage Hunter Assassin (2pts)
Mage Hunter Assassin (2pts)

I end up going first, and rolling the whole board forward. The Coven stay back a bit, Infernal Machine went on the Kraken, Granting him MAT 8 and Speed 7, and occultation went on the Bane Knights.
Turned out, He was just going to shell the Kraken with Backlash. He moved his Chimera up, tossed backlash on my Kraken, dropped harm in for good measure with A&H, and went to town with the mage hunters. He took out a decent chunk of the Kraken, enough to total any other Cryx jack, and landed 8 on the Coven through backlash. He rolled a bit on the low side. He popped his feat to protect his army, maneuvered his ‘jacks into position and called it a turn.
I upkeep infernal machine, and drove the Kraken into his guts, hoping to get at least someone to fail the check. Mage hunters, Sentinels, and A&H, however, defy my plan and all pass. The Kraken strikes out, killing Aiyana and a number of magehunters from both his claws and his Killshot. I sent the banes running pell-mell into the sentinels hoping to buy some time with Tartarus as backup in a safe position towards the center of the board. Both my arc nodes flanked out wide to provide threats for the next turn. With stealth on the Mage hunters and Banishing Ward on the Sentinels, I wasn’t getting a lot done that turn. I’d done some damage, but all of the Sentinels were still alive, as was the entire battlegroup and more. I popped my feat to hopefully mitigating some of the damage, and spent 6 focus to heal and prevent a backlash kill, if possible.

The Banshee, which I had failed to have any impact on, walked up to the Kraken and finished it off in three quick hits. Backlash had, thankfully, been left to expire. The mage hunters on the left flank piled in around Gorman and an arcnode, though unable to drop any real damage into them. The sentinels went, and killed the majority of my bane knights. I was confident that I’d reap back rewards with Tartarus. Then, using Kaelyssa, the manticore, and Holt, he cleared a couple more bane Knights to make an unexpected lane for the Mage Hunter Assassin to get a charge on Tartarus.
He causes terror. (rolls 8, passes)
He is Defense 13 (rolls 8, needing 8, passes)
Arm 17 w/ 8 wounds. (rolls 21 damage, needing exactly 21 to kill him)
Down went Tartarus, my only hope of salvaging the game, as a set of Sentinels had run to engage the other arc node when they’d charged the bane knights. He pushed the turn over to me.
Right. This one gets tricky.
Warwitch siren with puppet strings rolled over to spray the 5 mage hunters engaging Gorman and the Arc node. Managed to hit and kill all, without re-rolls. Amazing. That frees the arc node to then run (he had a broken cortex from the mage hunters, which we both forgot about. I would have had the Necrotech go fix him, but still) down the side of the army, with Ghost walk, in range of a Stygian Abyss to Kaelyssa. My friend reminded me of witch hound, but what am I to do at this point? I’m all in. His Banshee is in walking range, and Kaelyssa will just walk out of range if I spell her and don’t crit. So, I send in the banes to try and break the Banshee and fail, though I leave him with three wounds and its just as good. its good enough at this point. I activate my third coven member, and tossed Stygian abyss. boosted 9’s needed a 7 to hit, and prayed for a crit. The hit shows up, but the crit does not. I roll and do some damage, leaving her with 7. She moves up to engage me, negating my arcnode.
With little left but maneuvering and placing a Veil of Mists in to block charges from the Sentinels, I pass turn.
He Continued to take apart my army, killing one arcnode. He leaves the other with only movement and arcnode, and we remember the cortex this time. Everything but the Coven, one arcnode, and two of three Withershadow. Butt its all I got. Veil of mists, Ghost walk, boosted Stygian Abyss with a puppet strings into Kaelyssa. I need an 11 to hit her, but with the boost, I’m not afraid. Hit, but no crit. I need to roll a 9 at dice -2 for damage, to make her dead. Boost damage, and toss dice.
8.
4/3/1
A groan and a sigh of relief at the same time arose.
But! Puppet strings, I cried!
I will reroll the one, I declare!
I toss the die into the air, it lands with a clatter on the tabletop.
There is only one result that it ever could have been.

He starts his turn, and charges/walks his sentinels into combat with the poor Egregore.
5 weaponmasters.
And three fail, one at a time. The other two wail on the Egregore, but the damage is only enough to leave each witch with a HP or two left over. The rest of his army kills everything else I have. Now, at the end of their days, the coven is left to fight the Dawnguard Sentinels with only their knives.
And they are terrible at it.

It was a great game. Dice spiked and floored all over the place. There was more than enough craziness on both sides to make both opponents really enjoy themselves. In Hindsight, Kaelyssa might not be the best match up for the Coven, with Witch Hound, Banishing Ward, and Arcane Reckoning all in her arsenal. I’d try it again with a different list, same caster, I think. I’ll have to mull on it.

Read my second Battle Report Tomorrow!