Archive for February, 2013

Vlad3 vs. Haley2 batrep

Posted: February 14, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

I took a couple of pics but they are pretty lousy, sorry about that.

So, I got some great feedback from this thread and was able to play the first game using suggestions. One of my favorite casters is Vlad3 so it seemed to be the easiest choice for me despite the fact that I am about 13 models short for the list. Also, my favorite army for the game I used to play was a bike heavy SM list so the style is one that is very familiar and comfortable to me. My dojo sparring partner and I are pretty lax about that when we are testing things out so we found some suitable proxies and went for it.

The eHaley list he has been using lately is a pretty standard and brutal one:

Haley2
Stormwall (bonded)
Thorn
Squire
Gorman diWulffe
Full Gunmages with UA
Black 13th
Journeyman warcaster
Rangers

The list I took was inspired by a conversation with Wargolem (thanks for the tips on how to run it, too)

Vlad3 – Charge of the Horselord
Kodiak
Drago
Max Uhlans
Max Uhlans
Drakhun w/dismount
Drakhun w/dismount
Fenris
Markov

I decided that for this game I wouldn’t really care about the scenario objective – instead I would just try and threaten to assassinate Haley and kind of see how things worked out. The scenario was the disappearing flag one and since we are prepping for a tourney at Game Empire next week we decided to do death clock.

We both rolled a 4 to choose who goes first and thanks to the +1 to the roll thanks to the tier bonus I selected to go 2nd in order to choose the side with more LOS blocking terrain. I knew I would end up in his backfield so wanted to make sure I had nice long swathes of LOS to take advantage of my speed.

Deployment and early game

Deployment was fairly straightforward – stormwall mostly center, B13 and gun mages on my left flank, junior and stormcaller to the right. On my side of the table I put Vlad center, Drago and kodiak to his right, a drakhun on each side, to my left I then had a unit of Uhlans and then fenris out way wide (forgot Markov’s autopass command and was worried about the uhlan’s failing a terror check.) The final uhlans were wide out on my right flank.

Haley went first and knew that I would be jamming her hard (insert immature giggle here) so ran pretty much everything up and advanced herself. My answer to that was to activate Vlad first, cast Hand of Fate on one of the drakhuns, infernal machine on drago, and dash and then advanced some. Uhlans on right flank did a run, as did both of my jacks (for free which is why i chose them) – just as a quick aside here, infernal machine +2 spd turn 1 for tier bonus is almost like having a Vlad1 first turn feat (one of the jacks it is the same, the others are a bit slower). Drago ran to engage Stormwall in the middle of the table and the Kodiak ended up in some woods ready to charge the following turn. I ran most everything else forward, but forgot that uhlans had defensive line and was pretty sloppy on their placement – still much of my army was just shy of the halfway line, and both Fenris on the left, and the uhlans on the right were over the midway line, which was further than they should have been. The non-hand of fated drakhun had also run to engage stormwall thanks to reach and dash.

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Shep was a bit taken aback at the speed and had to feat this turn. I wasn’t as conscientious as I should have been with the flanking uhlans and one of those models was caught in the feat affecting the whole unit. Fenris was the only model not affected by the feat. Stormwall shot at the right uhlans killing one, and then the drakhun he was engaged with dismounting him and then killing him with the third shot (thanks to the feat). He then laid down 2 covering fire templates. The rangers marked the closer uhlans and fenris and did some shooting maybe damaging a couple of things but I don’t think they killed anything. Black 13th and a couple of gunmages dismounted and then killed Fenris and killed another of the close uhlans. The stormcaller disrupted Drago (and would for the rest of the game but I won’t mention it again).

I mostly advanced to engage as much as I could on the left and the uhlans on the right did a full 8″ advance. Vlad activated last and advanced a little and cast windwall to protect markov and the remaining drakhun. The right flag disappeared.

Mid game and end game

There was a bit more shooting and I lost another two uhlans on the left flank leaving me with just 1. Stormwall shifted slightly which triggered countercharge. I debated on whether or not to take it as it took me out of windwall but in the end decided to take it. I rolled a grand total of 7 on 4 dice proving it was a bad idea. On the plus side stormwall hit the drakhun with the big guns but failed to get through his armor. His second shot did something else I don’t remember. The gun mages really struggled for shots – there was an uhlan in range, but he both in concealment and engaged with thorn so they didn’t do anything to him. Thorn missed the uhlan with his shield and hit with the spear but rolled snake eyes for damage. It was an unexpected bonus – he had done his job in tying some stuff up but was largely irrelevant for the rest of the game. Gorman black oiled the drakhun. Haley backed up basically to her deployment zone – no killbox in this scenario.

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I measured my control area and guessed haley to be about 19″ away from Vlad so it was feat time. I dropped all upkeeps but unfortunately, due to some of Shep’s positioning, I had a less than ideal activation order. Markov charged Gorman and killed him and 2 gun mages. The drakhun advanced around behind stormwall . The uhlans on the right did a charge order, 1 of them charging and killing the stormcaller and the other 2 ran to try and engage the journeyman warcaster (short) and the stormwall (fine). I knew where I wanted Vlad at the end of the turn and I didn’t want stormwall getting to him so I tried to stagger as many large bases as possible. Finally Vlad activated, cast dash and charged a group of 2 gun mages with one impact along the way. I killed on impact and then my charge target. I sidestepped and hit and killed another target again and sidestepped into a group of 4 (with 1 behind the wall). Critically, the gunmages failed their command check. I had 3 focus left and bought a flashing blade and boosted everything I could.  I ended up with 4 or 5 blood quenched tokens and then sprinted behind haley engaging both her and the squire in their rear arcs.

Haley basically had to try a hail Mary here. She gave 1 focus to the stormwall and pulled from the squire. She ran thorn over to get range on the drakhun and took a freestrike but it didn’t do anything to him. Haley boosted the TK on the drakhun and missed the first time. She boosted a second time and moved him back 2″. She then advanced but stayed within Vlad’s reach range to not trigger a free strike. She telekinesised him 2″ closer to the stormwall and turned his back. Finally, she placed Drago out of the way too. Since Vlad was in stormwall’s rear arc he had to flip around and trample (thus losing all of his initials we remembered as it was happening) but the angle forced by the drakhun and the position of a wall I(the one I had to attack over earlier) he was unable to get where he needed, even with the bond and trample movement. At this point my opponent conceeded since Vlad 7 focus and was standing right next to her on 0 (maybe 1) focus.

Victory to the Motherland!

After Action Review

Wow, my plan went pretty much as I had hoped and thankfully the dice were on pretty even keel on both sides – there were some hot moments but also some cold ones so it was pretty typical. As to be expected when using a lot of new models/units I made some pretty big play errors. One of the biggest was forgetting defensive line on the Uhlans. 5 wound and 17 armor was causing some heartache for Shep, but had they been armor 19 it would have been a whole different realm of pain. The down side is that they would have been a much bigger time bomb target, but that is okay, I think it still works in my favor. I played Fenris way wrong, and basically threw him away for no gain. Aside from the aforementioned minor issues, I was pretty happy overall. The list is super fast and with dash it is also super mobile in that I can ignore free strikes. If only the uhlans had reach natively…

As far as death clock, my list played really fast, even with me not knowing what the heck I was doing most of the time whereas the questions that if asked Shep really ate into his time. Also, failing to get through armor meant more attacks, etc. I think at the end of the game he had like 12 minutes left and I had 23.

I really appreciated the low focus weight of the two jacks both running for free. If I were faced with a lot of heavy armor I would have been in trouble, but honestly, my other list is most likely going to be either one of the Irusks or Sorscha2 and neither of them have any issue with armor whatsoever. I am not gonna lie, when I went into this game, i was really rooting against my own list – I own very few of the models but am definitely going to be picking up the core of this list. It was great fun to play and when I remember things like hand of fate, drago’s affinity, and defensive line, as well as getting distance and positioning down, I think it will be a pretty legit threat.

Thanks again to everyone who has helped with this Haley hate project – I don’t need to necessarily own the list to beat her, I just need to know that it is possible within faction and I feel pretty good about that now. Obviously Shep would get better at playing this matchup as well, but even so, it is a tough slog for him and it is my hope that if I brought this to a tourney and faced a Cygnar player either than haven’t seen it before so reach for eHaley, or they have seen it before and realize that it is a really difficult matchup for them and consider their second caster.

I think this list would also do really well against most any other heavy gunline army such as many of the ret builds, other cygnar lists, some merc lists, as well as even, possibly, Lylyth2 type lists.

My friend snapped a couple of shots with his iphone at the game last night and they are much higher quality.  

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And I think we all know how this ended…

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Fair warning, this turned into a super long battle report so you should probably go to the restroom and/or brew up some tea.

So, continuing with my whirlwind tour of the casters of Khador I decided to give Strakhov an outing.  

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I kept OrsusSmash’s awesome writeup on caster capabilities and win conditions in mind as I was building the list and came up with a plan.  I decided that I would forego the desperate alpha strike that Strakhov is known for and instead work an attrition style game by dominating the flanks early and keeping Strakhov back.  Then once I was ready to redeploy and take the center for clean up.  That was the plan anyway.

With that plan firmly in mind I built this list:

Kommander Strakhov – WJ: +6
– War Dog
– Spriggan  
– Behemoth
Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator 
Great Bears of Gallowswood
Full Iron Fang Pikemen with standard UA
Full Kayazy Assassins with Underboss
Kayazy Eliminators
Winterguard Mortar Crew

My opponent, Josh, also was playing Khador but his army was a Tier 4 Harkevich Wolf Pack list with:

Harkevich
– Conquest
– Spriggan
– Black Ivan
– War Dog
Full Winterguard Infantry with UA
Kovnik Joe
Full Battle Mechaniks
Winterguard Mortar
Winterguard Field Gun

We rolled up the scenario and ended up with Destruction (4 objectives plus zone in the middle of the table).  I won the roll to pick sides despite his tier bonus of +1 and chose to go second and just like that, this training exercise in the Thornwood was under way.

Deployment and early game:

Josh deployed conquest centrally with Harkevich nearby. Black Ivan was to my right of conquest and the spriggan to his left. The winterguard was pretty central with the officer and joe hanging out behind a building, probably smoking some cheap cigarettes.  His mortar and field gun were out on my left flank. Thanks to Hark’s theme bonuses fortune started on conquest and escort started on Harkevich.

For my deployment I put strakhov, behemoth, rienholdt and the wardog all pretty central and put the great bears and the spriggan on my right side across from Black Ivan. The ironfang pikemen went on the other side of a building to the left of center other than the arc node, aka standard bearer.  The eliminators were behind that central building, my mortar was near some woods opposite of his light artillery and finally my kayazy were basically hugging the table edge on my extreme left.

Most of Josh’s first turn was just pushing things up the table a bit, conquest ran, black ivan advanced, the winterguard bobbed and weaved (wove?) up the table and joe told them to toughen up.

My turn saw the kayazy sprint up the table edge spreading out their formation.  The iron fangs also ran up left of center in the table.  The great bears ran to cover.  Strakhov activated, put superiority on behemoth, occultation on the iron fangs and advanced.  Behemoth ran up a bit in front of strakhov, the wardog ran next to him and reinholt behind.  The spriggan just advanced as I had forgotten to give him a focus. The eliminators advanced middle-ish but still hung back.

Engagement and mid game

Hark upkept the spells and gave 1 to conquest. Conquest advanced and took a shot at behemoth.  The def bonus from superiority meant that he missed, but with fortune he not only hit but he got crit devastate off.  Oops.  Strakhov, the war dog, and behemoth all were thrown back 1″ – Reinholdt was just out but he died to strakhov slamming into him.  The wardog failed his tough and died.  Behemoth took a couple of points of damage but strakhov was unharmed.  Conquest then laid down some creeping barrage templates. Black Ivan got a direct hit on Kolsk and took him down to 1 life.  The winterguard advanced again under a bob and weave order and the mortar had a bad drift and didn’t kill anything. Joe gave a tough speech again. Hark feated this turn as well.

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On my turn I dropped superiority but upkept occultation and shook.  I also forgot that Harkevich had feated and gave 3 to the spriggan. Since I knew I wanted to advance the mortar took a shot and ended up hitting one of the winterguard but he toughed and was just knocked down.  I was faced with a wall of creeping barrage in front of the iron fangs. I spent a lot of time thinking about it.  Those stupid templates are so low strength that it tempts you to move through it, but if the dice get hot it can be pretty devastating to a unit like the iron fangs.  I eventually decided not to burn any more of my deathclock and just took the risk.  The officer called his minifeat and gave a charge order.  2″ is way more than you think it is, by the way.  I expected to fail several charges but in the end, the only model not benefitting from the order was a single guy who ran.  I killed a couple of winterguard but failed miserably to even damage the monolith and then used the reform move to get into shield wall.  I didn’t press in though as I was pretty much in control of the zone at this point save for a single guardsman that refused to die.  

The assassins ran again and took shelter behind a building near the winterguard light artillery.  Behemoth forfeited his movement to stand up and fired twice at the other monolith and did 6 points to it.  The spriggan charged conquest and attacked over a wall doing a few points to him but not really much.  The Great Bears charged black ivan.  Hark’s feat saved him but I did disable everything but his movement. The Eliminators ran to engage conquest.

I was feeling pretty good about my position at this point…

Josh started shooting at the IFP but the combination of occultation and shield wall saved them from most of it.  It also helped that he rolled something like seven 6s in a row.  Black Ivan got a shot in on Volkov but he made the tough check. Conquest attacked the spriggan but thanks to the obstruction and superiority he missed. 

My turn I had the ironfangs get a shield wall order again and advance and attack.  They didn’t really have any hard targets other than conquest so didn’t really need the extra dice. They killed a couple more winterguard and the Kayazy ran to engage the field gun and some winterguardsmen.  Black Ivan was scrapped by the great bears.  One of them missed with and it was a scary moment for me but he couldn’t quite dodge out of all of their reach ranges.  The eliminators charged through conquest and killed a mechanic and a winterguard and sidestepped to harkevich but didn’t really do anything.  Behemoth walked around the objective and set up for either a double bombard on Hark or charge on conquest.  He lobbed one bombard shot at the mechanics but didn’t do anything but point out to me that my eliminators were in dangerous drift location so I didn’t take the second shot. I got 4 iron fangs including the ua into a semicircle around the enemy spriggan at the long range of reach.  I did a negligible damage but at least I had him fairly well locked in.  Strakhov put occultation on himself just to be safe.

I was really starting to feel comfortable at this point.

And then Joe called boosted attacks…

Being the knucklehead I am, I had already started to shift the ironfangs toward the center and left some guardsmen in rear arcs.  We all know that attacks originating in rear arcs don’t benefit from shield wall… Also, sprays ignore stealth and melee modifiers.  The spriggan also killed 2 of them without the benefit of any focus.  Funniest moment was when the field gun crewman punched a kayazy and hit on box cars but then rolled a 3 to wound!  At the end of the his turn I had something like 2 kayazy left (they passed their command check) and the iron fangs also passed the command check they were forced to make. Conquest killed an eliminator and then behemoth was hit with a crit devastation from a broadside which threw him back 4″ into a building and knocked him down and did some damage.  Harkevich took the free strikes from eliminators and took a shot at Strakhov with his handcannon.  I was suddenly not feeling quite as confident.

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End game

This game had to end soon or I wouldn’t have any models left.  Behemoth was knocked down and about a foot away from from conquest.  I allocated 3 focus to the main cortex and had him shake the knockdown.  I dropped all my upkeeps as well.  I figured I may as well get things going.  I had strakhov shift laterally to get conquest in his control area and popped his feat.  I got a very favorable drift (1″ back directly toward himself) so had a pretty decent LOS blocker.   Behemoth charged conquest from about 13″ away – I had hoped to get into melee with Harkevich as well but Josh had positioned his spriggan well so there wasn’t enough space for a back to get through. With a total of 4 attacks I managed to take out the left half entirely with a pretty good amount of bleed over to the other side.  The spriggan poked for another couple.  The great bears charged conquest and the wardog countercharged, killing Volkov.  One of the great bears actually missed his charge attack with another snake eyes, but the 3 remaining attacks were enough to wreck it.

Josh didn’t have many options left at this point and loaded the spriggan up with 2 focus.  Harkevich shot into melee trying to clear the iron fangs and killed the first one.  He used broadsides to take an extra handcannon shot at the last one but missed. The surviving couple of winterguard trying to help out but also missed due to the def bonus for being in combat.  With nothing else to do but try and one shot Strakhov (he would need 1 focus to charge, and 1 focus to try and hit with the spear as the range meant he would need reach) he risked the free strike.

Fortunately for me the last surviving iron fang pikeman rolled a double 4 and knocked the spriggan down, causing the charge to fail. Josh extended his had across the table at this point and conceded the game.

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(the blast marker is the cinder bomb smoke)

After Action Review

First off, wow!  What a fun game.  We were both cheering for good dice rolls and moaning at bad ones for both players.  It was a super fun game with a great opponent.  The lists were fairly well matched in power as were the casters.  I was a bit more attritiony in a melee sort of way and he was in a ranged sort of way and the game played out as it should have. 

I am starting to get a hang for what to expect from my units and was pretty happy with most of my plays.  I didn’t ask too much from my units, but what I did ask, they performed.  I was happy to stick to my original plan of sweeping the flanks and saving the feat.  It turned out that I absolutely needed it when I needed it. 

Strakhov was an interesting caster this game.  It didn’t seem like he did much all game but occultation on the Iron Fangs early, and himself at the end was kind of nice. It would have been nice to get some use out of sprint and his melee abilities, but Josh’s list was a pretty stand back and shoot kind of list so I didn’t have the opportunity. The big deal here for me was that I didn’t force it, as I have a tendency to sometimes do.  I was talking with Inyoung from iWargame and he really suffers from bipolar abilities. 

Thanks to crappy deployment on my part I never really had a target for sentry but bouncing superiority around was nice.

The eliminators continue to be rockstars. They haven’t really won me a game yet, but they can be such a huge distraction that their 3 points are well worth it.  In fact, I am thinking of picking up a second unit.

The assassins did what I expect them to do, run, tie something up, die.  They may or may not take something with them, but they harass with the best of them.

Iron fang pikemen were also great.  Shield wall gets dissed fairly often on the forums for being so slow, but reform helps, and twice this game pathfinder on the charge was necessary. I want to try the black dragons at some point, but I think I will really miss both reform and relentless charge.

This was the first game that the great bears really punched above their weight. I think I will start using them more in the off to the side capacity rather than trying to use them as an anchor. I think that was probably my biggest mistake in playing them early was overestimating their survivability.  Tough, steady and defensive line are nice, but at the end of the day they are just 3 13/14 models with 5 wounds each.

Anyway, it was a super fun and tight game, so thanks again to Josh for the training exercise – I look forward to the next one!

 

I finished up Zerkova and am pretty happy with her.  I might go back and touch up one of the eyes (the real one), but overall she is done.  I didn’t realize until I started painting her that the sword I got was miscast – but it looks cool to me so I am not too worried.  I’ll try and get better pics at some point, but was just pretty stoked so wanted to post her.

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As mentioned last month I doing the Muse on Minis play it painted 2013 challenge.  Last month I posted by pledge and now here is a finished version – 

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My pledge for February is Zerkova and a full manowar unit.

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I’d like to take some better pics but all I am using right now is my phone, so, sorry.

This is just the link to my post on the MoM forum post so I can link back to it when I post the finished items.
http://museonminis.com/forums/index.php?topic=897.msg21874#msg21874

How does Khador win?

Posted: February 1, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

So, I made a post over at the muse on minis forum about Khador casters to help me kind of quantify what their win conditions are and how they play and OrsusSmash had a FANTASTIC write up.  It pretty much killed the thread by winning it so decisively that it reminded me of that scene in Old School where they are doing the debate.  Anyway, I asked him for permission to reprint his post here in its entirety and he agreed so, enjoy, and feel free to comment.  In honor of his namesake, here’s a sweet pic of the Butcher of Khardov, Orsus Zoktavir and the article begins in earnest right below it.

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Thanks again to OrsusSmash for this write up –

Khador as a faction is slanted towards attrition, typically via inequitable trades. Example: a handful of Battle Lusted Iron Fang Pikemen can kill just about any heavy in the game, and if you can leverage the whole unit they’ll do a number on a colossal. That’s a comparatively small investment, for a large gain on your part. “Trading up” is usually something Khador does well.

The flip side of the coin is demanding your opponent spend resources well above and beyond what they “should” need to in order to remove some of your models. One of the neo-classic examples is Kayazy Assassins: even without Iron Flesh, your opponent is probably going to have to throw more attacks at the unit to kill it than they’d like (with Iron Flesh it skews even harder.) That allows your unit to trade at a rate that other units normally wouldn’t be capable of, or deal with things way outside of their weight class (even buffed infantry typically need 7-8’s to hit, and again it gets much worse with Iron Flesh.)

Typically, “attrition” based Khador warcasters aren’t “tanks” like some of the Trollblood ‘locks are. They achieve attrition through tilting their infantry one way or the other (ultra killy or ultra hard to remove) or sometimes both at the same time (hello Irusk1!) and letting those parts of the army grind your opponent down to a position they can’t maintain.

Enough preamble, lets talk ‘casters!

Sorscha1: Attrition/Assassination. Renaissance girl right now. She herself is relatively easy to kill (usually DEF 18+, but usually zero focus camping,) but she enables her army to either tilt the numbers in your favor via mass Stationary/KD (through her spells and her feat) or sneak an assassination (via her feat and typically long ranged shooting that doesn’t care about DEF 5.)

Vlad1: Aggression/Attrition. Vlad1 is one of the few ‘casters that can run a decent size battlegroup in Khador, thanks to his feat giving you an alpha strike or at least matched threat with most enemy heavies. This allows him to play much more aggressively with the warjacks he brings, which is something most people don’t see in Khador. The shining stars for him are his two big spells: Signs & Portents, and Blood of Kings. The former tilts the math of your entire army, putting you into a really good position offensively, and Blood of Kings gives him an endgame/survival tool that can be hard to deal with after attrition has taken it’s toll. Vlad1 is one of our ‘casters that is more likely to end games himself, but he’s not really assassination; it’s usually a situation where your opponent has to try to Hail Mary you off the table and fails, or it’s a ‘caster duel and Blood of Kings Vlad1 wins.

Butcher1: Attrition. Iron Flesh to tilt your army defensively, Fury and his feat to tilt your army hard offensively. Butcher1 makes a promise: I will kill anything you put in front of me. If your opponent can’t deal with that (either via out threating you, or surviving your offense,) they’re gonna have a bad time. Butcher1 is probably our best “tank” ‘caster, because he hits like a ton of bricks, and can camp/buff himself up to very hard to kill levels. His threat range is really easy to understand and mitigate, but he still needs to be respected.

Irusk1: Attrition. Vying for our “best ‘caster” spot, because he does his job extremely well. Every aspect of Irusk1’s kit is tuned to give you the tools you need to grind your opponent’s army into dust. He makes his infantry into unholy killing machines, turns their survivability on high with his feat and Iron Flesh (though there are counters to both, so don’t get cocky!) and even has our best warjack support spell to slap on a Conquest backing all that up.

Sorscha2: Attrition. Also vying for “best ‘caster,” she does a lot of what Irusk1 does, but does it differently. She doesn’t hit the peaks of damage that Irusk1 does, but her feat is still a huge damage multiplier (especially considering how hard Khador can hit at base.) She also supports our best infantry unit….the best (Winter Guard Infantry) which allows you to establish infantry dominance in a lot of matches very quickly. Sorscha2 also supports a Conquest well, between her bond’s freezing effect, the extra focus, and Boundless Charge for threat. Also worth noting that Shatterstorm gives her RFP that she can dole out as necessary, which can be very valuable in some match ups.

Vlad2: Assassination/Attrition. One of my favorite ‘casters. Vlad2 is still all about supporting his army, but in this form it’s much more about turning a handful of models into relative stat gods and having them either cripple your opponent’s army, or pick the enemy ‘caster off. High risk, high reward, because his feat is random and sometimes you’ll come up short on a big play, but a lot of fun because you can build your army for both possibilities at 50 points, and have flexibility for when you pop your feat. Doom Reavers are way too much fun with +3 to all stats. :)

Karchev: Attrition/Assassination. Karchev is all about making his battlegroup extremely mobile. I played him a lot in Mk. 1 with Iron Curtain abuse, but he’s been harder to use in Mk. 2 so far. He has a strong assassination/attrition play that works precisely once on everyone (Karchev Tows warjacks up 10″, drops them off, they kill your ‘caster or your heavies.) Once your opponents become more familiar with him, you need to be a lot more cagey. Difficult ‘caster to use, since everyone is gunning to take down exactly what he is (low DEF, high ARM heavy) but fun when you get his game to “click.” Don’t use him against Cryx. ;)

Old Witch: Attrition/Control. One of our precious few “control” ‘casters. Old Witch is looking to control the board using her feat (one of the stronger control feats out there,) Murder of Crows (to block LoS/movement,) and existing terrain (Augury shenanigans or Weald Secret’ing our infantry.) She can tilt defense using the always popular Iron Flesh, and she can be pretty hard to pick off thanks to distance and Prowl (watch out for things that ignore Stealth!) Also threatens infantry with Scrapjack-Avatar of Slaugher sprees, though like Karchev’s Tow move that’s something that most people will walk into once. One thing to note about Old Witch: she’s one of our ‘casters that does zero to the army’s damage output, so you need to build for enemy ARM in mind.

Butcher2: Attrition. Butcher2’s theme list is what he’s best known for. Can you kill all these Doom Reavers before I erase you? If not, I win. If so, I may still win because there’s Conquest and Butcher2 behind all of them. That aside, Butcher2 is a very interesting ‘caster. He still has the stats for a decent endgame run, but it’s not as reliable because he doesn’t have Iron Flesh or steady focus. He does have some very good offensive spells (i.e. he still has Fury, and he picked up Boundless Charge,) he supports a few warjacks well with his Conferred Rage, and his feat can be a huge attrition tool (allows you basically a second turn immediately after the first) or a sneaky assassination tool (cavalry solos have a 26″ non-linear threat under his feat, warjacks have 18″ if you can get Butcher2 to kill something.)

Zerkova: Attrition/Control/Pity. Zerkova is an oddball. Her feat is actually a strong control feat, and she has a few good spells on her card – Icy Grip is an okay debuff, Banishing Ward is situationally nice, Watcher is actually a pretty fun spell (though something your opponent can mitigate,) and she can snipe solos/UA leaders pretty well using Razor Wind – but her overall kit doesn’t come together into anything particularly great. In theory, she’s another “control” ‘caster for Khador, but I’ve never felt particularly in control when using her. Winning with her does help your nerd peen though. ;)

Irusk2: Attrition. Like most epics, he’s a revision of his old style, with a new approach. Irusk2 retains the glory that is Battle Lust, picks up a good shooting buff in Fire For Effect, grabs two movement spells (Energizer and Tactical Supremacy,) and picks up an odd control-ish spell with Artifice of Deviation. His feat is also a huge “tempo” feat, as it hobbles most of your opponent’s chances at offense, while allowing your army to recover and press the attack. Irusk1 tends to be safer and more consistent, but I find Irusk2’s “lead from the front” style more fun to play.

Strakov: Attrition/Assassination. Strakov is another odd duck, but thankfully he turned out better than Zerkova. I’ve played a good bit of Strakov, and he’s at least more active and effective than her. Strakov has “one good trick” similar to Karchev, in that you can catch a lot of people with Feat + Overrun + warjack to the face if they aren’t ready for it. Once they’ve seen it, they’ll take the necessary precautions. Unlike Karchev though, I think Strakov has more depth to fall back on. He has a very interesting spell in Sentry, Occultation to help with shooting match ups (not all of them, but better than nothing,) and Overrun can be used to give warjacks a turn-by-turn effective double speed bonus or movement shenanigans. Strakov’s feat feels more designed for the mid-game, when the first lines have murdered each other and you’re both struggling to get as much of your second line into action as possible, and when I’ve played the army with an eye on crushing on turn 3-4 (instead of fishing for a hard alpha) he’s worked pretty well.

Harkevich: Attrition. Harkevich is a battlegroup support warcaster, and boasts (currently) the only ARM buff we can put on our warjacks. His feat plus Escort plus Field Marshal allows him to run his battlegroup very aggressively, and use it to get stuck in and start a scenario grind. Under no circumstances should you build for Broadsides, but it also isn’t too hard to build an effective battlegroup that can happen to make use of that spell if you end up in a good situation for it. With Harkevich, start with a battlegroup that’s going to push for melee, and build your army to support it (screening/anti-infantry infantry, some support solos, Mechaniks, etc.) He ends up having a very unique playstyle in Khador, and he’s been very fun to use.

Vlad3: Aggression/Attrition?/Assassination. The NKoTB. Vlad3’s deal is speed, and a different style of infantry buffing than previous versions. Dash is a huge enabler for your army, and it allows you to get to scenario zones/objectives very quickly. From there…I’m still figuring that out. Right now I’ve got a build that is more cavalry heavy, and it actually works decently well: you can use his feat to hit-and-fade, or hit and dig deeper into enemy lines. You also have the ever present threat of Vlad3 lawnmowering down enemy infantry (bonus if they’re living so he can beast out on blood) and/or Side Stepping his way around/through their army to get the ‘caster kill. Very fun, but also high risk/high reward.