No One Wins

Last Thursday I was finally able to throw down in a game of warmachine against my buddy over at Sticks and Dice. He’s a friend I’ve been playing for amost 10 years now, and we very much know each others methods, styles and armies, so these games are always challenging, hard fought and a blast to play.

We’ve recently taken to playing even our casual games with Deathclock, so this is no different. However, I have a strange mental block against friendly deathclock. Even though I know that my opponent can clock themselves, I never use it advantageously. Instead, I assume that my opponent has infinite time and will keep playing beyond the ting of the clock. I’m not sure if its good or bad, but its always there. Whenever I see my opponent start to run down on time, I think to my self “If he clocks, we’re just gonna play this out anyway. There is no reason to end a perfectly fine game now!”

Well, enough rambling! Onto the game!

I’ve only gotten a single game in with my Goreshade 1 list, and I’m still trying to shake out all the kinks. I’ve not changed the list from before.


This isn't his first rodeo

This isn’t his first rodeo

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

My friend brought along a fairly standard Anit-Cryx list, run by Forward Kommander Sorscha

I don't like this one all to much....

I don’t like this one all to much….

Forward Kommander Sorscha+6
*Sylys Wyshnalyrr2
Iron Fang Uhlans (3)7
Kayazy Eliminators 3
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt4
Tactical Arcanist Corps4
Winter Guard Infantry (10)6
*Officer & Standard2
Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich2
Gorman di Wulfe2
Battle Mechaniks (4)3

The table was fairly sparse, as they are want to be for warmachine, and we rolled up Fire Support, which even further exacerbated the issue in the center of the table. He won the roll, and chose to go fist, and I chose my side of the board.

As much as I feel confident in my skills with the warmachine game and my ability to make fairly strong decisions in game so as not to get my face melted off, The pre-game portion sometimes gets me very, very hard. During casual play its not terribly important to choose which list you’ll be using, so list chicken and matchup analysis is not a skill that I’ve developed extremely well. In addition, board edge and first turn has always been an automatic with me. I am very much in the camp that espouses building your army so that you can always take advantage of going first, and I’ve always played in a manner that tries to ask questions, including my favorite: Can you break through to my half of the board. Often the answer is no.

He deploys Conquest first, and then the rest of his army, as I have no PD or AD to worry about. His uhlans and Eleminators take my left flank among the trees, folowed by conquest and the Mechanics, with Sorscha and her cadre of Dwarves, Elves, and Alchemists took the center. Off to my right he placed the Winterguard Infantry and Joe.

I’d been thinking about how to counter what I new was coming with my army, my small, dense army, and I had a plan. I was going to try to counter his deployment. Conquest was going to get his shots, no matter what, and he was going to play a huge part in the game, no changing that. I wanted to try and get a jack or two over there and finish off with the Bane Knights or Thralls. Nightmare, both Slayers, Darragh Wrath, and Goreshade went in the center, with Warwitches behind. The Knights, who with vengeance and a little bit of positioning could out threat the Uhlans went to my left, and the Bane Riders, with their Possible MAT 10 attacks went out to the right across from the WGI. I knew it was going to be a difficult threat game with the Infantry, but I needed to play it.

Fuzzy Turn 1 Deployment. Forest, Rough Terrain, and walls.

Turn 1 is spent running into position by both armies. I try to put as many Bane Riders as I can into cover and concealment to raise their defense to tolerable levels, and layer my Bane Knights so that if the Uhlans do bring it in, I’ll be able to use Tartarus and the remaining Knights to level out the playing field.

Turn 1 Positioning.

Turn two sees the expected advance of the Winterguard, and their subsequent shots into the bane riders manage to remove two of them, even with the +2 defense. Normally, I’d have Darragh Wrath over there to help them out with -2 Str to living, but guns just don’t care. The Uhlans repositioned back into the woods, seeing the threat of the Bane Knights, but the Eliminators were emboldened by the MAT 6 of the Bane Knights, and strode in to contest the flag. On my turn, Gorehade started off by moving forward to get a bead on one of the Winterguard who had Iron Flesh on them, tossed out a boosted hex blast, and stripped the spell off, toasting one of the troopers in the process. Next, I fouled up my own movements by being to greedy and charging a scrap thrall where he wasn’t needed. The Bane Riders followed up and, between the three that remained, cut down nearly half the squad. I had really envisioned them doing more, but I cannot complain, it was more than I should have hoped. The Bane Knights, Inspired by the Bane Riders performance and spurred on by Tartarus, took a few stabs at the Eliminators. Though 3 of our whiffed, the fourth one connected and removed the threat of the double-combostrike-feat turn that was inevitable. Seeing that Epic Eiryss was within running distance of my clump of jacks, I tried to spread out a bit so that she wouldn’t completely ruin my day, but that 11″ bubble is hard to avoid. One Slayer made off to the right, one to the left, and Nightmare kinda trundled up the center , trying to make sure conquest couldn’t charge him and end him. Finally, the Heroic Necrotech took business into his own hands and interposed bodily between conquest and Nightmare, not to mention the bottomed out Goreshade.

Turn 2: The Bane Riders do their Job.

It was Sorscha’s turn next, and man it was gonna be bad. She moved up early, popped her feat, and thankfully missed on her Freezing Grip, making it so that my Bane Knights weren’t completely hosed. Between her Quad Iron, though, Holt, and the Arcanist corpse mans single fireblast, they were able to clear out the charge land for the Uhlans on my slayer. The Winterguard, though, weren’t out of it, and they took it out on my poor slayer and one of my Bane Riders. Both the Uhalns and the Winterguard managed to mangle the slayers in a single hit. The Winterguard CMA, with Joe backing them up, Rust Bomb and Harm, managed to roll, at Dice +1, the hard 12 to blow him of the planet. The Uhlans didn’t technically do the same damage, but doing 26 of 28 damage in a single blow is close enough for me. The impact attack that had helped it along was just icing. Finally, though he was out of the feat, the remaining Kayazy Eliminator managed to dust Tartarus with a single hit.

The Carnage of her feat. Note the distinct lack of Slayers

Now, a little bit worse for wear, I tried to take the offensive to the Khadorans. This turn, though, I got a little greedy as my clock wound down and did some peeing down my leg. I spend a strong portion of my turn trying to get rid of the Uhlans that had taken down my jack, they were in the way of my feat popping and dropping off a half-dozen bane thrall babies into conquest, but I also needed to get rid of the remaining Eliminator and Eiryss. I move the breathstealer up to get the -2 defense on both of em, I then move up and try to spray Eiryss off the table with a Warwitch, who promptly wiplashes her self to death. My scrap thrall, eager to bring death to the Khadorans also managed to get himself killed in a glorious position, blowing up the leader of my Riders and preventing the other rider from taking a charge attack on the objective. Instead, he rolls over to Joe to be scary. The Necrotech, hero of this portion of the game, Rolls up on top of the slayer wreck, turns it into four scrap thralls, and drops them behind the Winterguard and Eiryss. The Banes finally go, and stab to death everything they can to clear a lane for Goreshade, but I’d given up on my inital plan, and was going to have him pop feat and charge Conquest down the center. I charge the now DEF 15 Eliminator with Goreshade and, boosting to hit, put her in the ground. I pop my feat and place my Unit of Banes. Problem with that is that I forgot about the wreck marker completely. Charging Banes without Tartarus only go so far, and I managed to only get 2 on conquest, who was significantly unimpressed. Nighmare then moves over to Eiryss, who has two scrap thralls behind her, and stabs one of them. He then expodes, killing his friend and bringing Eiryss down to a single hp. The second scrap thrall, just to spite me, doesn’t do me a damn bit of good and forces me to attack the stupid elf directly. With the -2 Def from the Deathwalker, I’m able to put her into the ground for good. Shoulda just made the attacks and saved the Scrappies.

Popping shadowmancer and using Darragh Wraths ability to back up a bout an inch, I was confident, but not convinced. This game was all about positioning, and I needed to see what he did next.

The end of Round four, where things start to break.

Not a Good turn for me, it turned out. Joe Stabs my final bane rider, and calls it a day. Sorscha Freezes my Bane Knights, and conquest lays into my Thralls, along with Holt and the TAcC blowing more of them up. Gorman took advantage of the situation and Black Oiled Nightmare. I did not feel confident going into my turn.

Thankfully, my boys were able to pull it out for me. The Bane Thralls got a few more points of damage onto conquest and jammed him up a little bit, and an insane, charging Warwitch Siren managed to off the final Uhlan. The Deathwalker enabled Darragh Wrath to Hellfire Holt off the board, and a timely explosion of a scrap thrall send Gorman to hell along with one of his Winterguard buddies. Goreshade, being Terrified and out of meaningful things to do, Camped full and ran to the other side of the board. My hope was that I would be able to take the objective and get a few points, maybe forcing Sorscha into an engagement.

That was never meant to be.

The turn before everything broke loose.

as you can see, the clock was winding down towards the someones demise as I shipped it over to his turn. Neither of us had a lot of models, but we didn’t have a ton of time either. Sorscha allocates four, stands her ground, and pops boundless charge. The TAC and Winterguard each remove a Bane, and Joe shoots the Deathwalker in the face with a boosted shot, killing her. That leaves a big, empty hole for Conquest to Punch Goreshade in the face. Thankfully, for me, he was about an inch out of melee range, and Goreshade, staring down the face of a colossal, lives to fight on. My Friend ships the clock over to me with 44 seconds remaining on his clock.

At this point, the game kinda breaks down. With 2:27 left on my clock, I can easily Camp Goreshade, run away, and let him clock himself. I don’t because I don’t think like that, and instead I move Goreshade around to get a good line on Aiyana, who is blocking nightmares charge lane, boost to hit on a bleed and take her out. I send Nightmare in to get Sorscha. With a speed 8 and Reach, I was well within range of getting my claws on her, so I literally pick him up and put him next to Sorscha. My friend states that he gets a free strike from conquest, which I was convinced he did not have when I started my activation. However, I cannot place Nightmare back where he was, so its on me to prove. I say go for it, and he mangles me, rolling 10 on the three dice, popping out 32 damage, blanking his movement. This is when I remember Ghostly, and my friend is kind enough to let me pop the focus to do it. Down to 1 focus left, after the charge. I manage to hit my charge attack combo strike MAT 8 on these jacks is awesome. However, I fail to kill, dropping a 7 on the dice and leaving her with three HP. I buy my last attack, in vain, and I fail to hit. The clock runs out, and the game ends.

My opponent insists that I won, having more time on the clock and the ability, knowledge and capacity to simply camp and flee, winning on clock. He also sated that even failing to kill Sorscha, he’s in a bad position.

I refuse, insisting that my opponent won. I went through with the turn, I clocked out, and I didn’t kill him. Even if he gets another turn, Conquest is sitting right in front of Goreshade, needing 9’s to hit at dice +6. Goreshade, I don’t think lives through that.

It was an amazingly close game, and the first I think I’ve ever had were both players are trying to foist the win on the other person. I enjoy every game I get in against this guy, and he’s made me a very strong player, especially against Khador.

I love this list, man. I really do, but I want to take it to 11, and its just not there yet. The Slayers are slated for replacement at the first opportunity. As my opponent said, the game has just outgrown them. Specifically, I am looking at replacing them with Inflictors. Not only do they have +2 armor, they also have reach, a Warwitch Siren Strapped to their back, and a Crit Poison weapon, which is important as this list would be my hordes drop. Armor 22/23, with DEF 13 is going to be a hard nut to crack, and I look forward to the day I can place them in the list!

My final option would be to try and sneak the Nyss in instead of the Bane Knights, and get 4 points of other for Tartarus. My initial thought would be another Necrotech and a Pistol Wraith, and I may give that a go once I get my Nyss.