Last week I mentioned that I’d try to break down the games I had in an ultimately non-battle report format, but I forgot that I’d need to write that on New Years Eve, So that one kinda never happened, but I still want to go over the lists and what I think could be done to maybe have had a better experience/game.
This was a caster I’d wanted to try for a long time with a list that I had, admittedly, thrown together at the last minute. I wanted to put the Mammoth on the table and with a +2 move from Mobility and the ability to assault, I figured being able to drop pie plates on the enemy from 33+ inches away was going to be something fun to do. The Praetorians were there to be bodies, at 6 points + UA, and to take advantage of Ignite. Whats better than +2 to melee damage rolls? +2 to two melee damage rolls! The Venator Slingers were there to get in the way of anything that wanted to try and make it to the mammoth swiftly. They’d have to waste attacks chewing through all 10 bodies, and it probably wouldn’t be easy. They also provide a wealth of souls to the Soulwarden, who would love to be able to boost a nice, juicy shoot at a ‘Caster or ‘Beast who wandered to close. The Krea was bonded to Xerxis to keep him from getting shot to death, which probably worked. Zaadesh had the Raider on him to make sure I could drop snipe on the Mammoth every turn without too much worry, even if the paingivers went down. The Tyrant Commander was there to give Pathfinder and press forward when needed, though it never really came up, and the beast support of the Soulwarden and the Mortithurge were there to make the Mammoth really worth while.
Sadly, I learned that Pre-deoployment means that you’re juicy targets are off to the wrong side of the board to get assaulted. Instead, you end up with something that is going to get you killed deployed opposite the giant beast. Same goes for the Praetorians, who ended up facing a pile of Nyss hunters that just shot their faces off. Both of those could have been mitigated with better play and/or deployment. I’m always worried that the Gargantuan/Colossals will be taken out of the game by bad deployment, and almost always send them front and center. Instead, I should probably lean them a bit to one side or the other and try to draw out, either by weakness too, or strength against, an element of the army. I made a few bonehead moves, but otherwise played a solid game. I was in it almost to the end, even though I had to worry about Butcher 3 coming in and slaying the Mammoth. Positioning Xerxis was key to that.
I tried to take a page from the Father Lucant Method, where you offer up your Gargantuan/Colossal to the opposing Caster/Big Meaty Thing and hope they take the bait, while leaving your caster in range to counter into whatever it is they brought. With Xerxis and the Krea being MAT 10 (12 on the Charge) or a possible Knockdown attack, its extremely likely that your opponent does not live.
with 5 fury, you’ve Upkept Ignite for 1, and are sitting on 4. with mobility and speed 7, you threat a hot 9.5″ with your mount attack, and your sitting on only 2 fury afterward. Mount attacks are unboostable, so you’ve got, with the Krea, a MAT 10 knockdown attack at pow 16 (3 damage to a ARM 20 caster), and afterwards a pow 17 (4 damage (7)) and a pow 14 (1 damage (8)) followed up with two more pow 17 (8 more damage, (16)). That kills a lot of casters, and gets better the less they are camping (5 more damage per point of armor less than 20)
Now, Charging non-mobility is probably the best option. Its a threat range of 12″ with MAT 10 (12 on the charge) but won’t be able to knock down, and certain casters can give us a worry here.no mobility gives us 4 fury and 2 initial attacks, Pow 17/14. on the charge we’re getting up to pow 19, which can really swing the math, and boosted Damage. so, here we go, ARM 20 caster – charge attack does 10 (10), Second Initial does 1. (11) Four follow up attacks do 4 damage each, popping 12 into him (23). Boosting to hit on the charge attack, just for good measure, to ensure that up-front wack, still downs most Casters, at 19 damage. With a 4.75″ base and a 2″ reach (if you sacrifice the Mammoth) that eats 6.75″ of your threat up. Xerxis, then, needs to be 5.25″ or less behind the Mammoth, which isn’t hard to measure. That’s the Magic number I have to worry about, then, and unless I am playing someone with TK, Stryker 2 or the Butcher 3, I feel pretty safe there as reprisal.
This list is something I think has some solid potential, and I love having two huge bases on the board. Its got the guts to punch through armor, the pathfinder to worry little about terrain, and the AOE solution to High Def, if it comes to that. I do think that there are some tweaks to be made, though. Zaadesh doesn’t really do a whole lot, and without him, I can afford to upgrade the Slingers to something less worthless. I can easily pop the Raider on Xerxis and have him follow around the Mammoth, dropping snipe on him every turn with the handlers around to cool him off. The Tyrant Commander is a fairly solid piece, but If I am going to go with the “all bodies in front of the Mammoth/Xerxis 2 theory, I might as well just pony up for either the Gatorman Witchdoctor to help jam, or just downgrade to Saxon Orrik. The Preatorians, with sidestep, don’t seem nearly as greedy for the +2” move as other, more reachy troops do.
My next incarnation, I do believe, will look like this:
|Xerxis, Fury of Halaak||+5|
|Praetorian Swordsmen (10)||6|
|-Praetorian Officer and Standard||2|
|Paingiver Beast Handlers(4)||2|
Nihlitors and Swordsmen will both be tough, increasing the odds of keeping bodies between my valuable models and my enemy. Shooting Xerxis is already tough, so I am bringing along some +1, and giving him, and maybe the Gatorman/soulward/Mortitheurge, concealment.
I am really, really considering the Keltarii in place of one of those other units, but I want to move forward in a little bit of baby steps first. I’ll be getting about a dozen Xerxis 2 games in before I plow on over to a new caster, so we will see how it works out.