Posts Tagged ‘hordes’

Okay, shadow and flame is a bit, shall we say, melodramatic, but cut me some slack. I am sleep deprived thanks to the new shredder (though with his 6″ spray I thinking this one is actually stinger), haven’t been gaming much but have been doing some writing.

My friend and fellow PG DaveZ dragged me over to his ancestral manse deep in the heart of Sul, (okay, about a mile away and still in Burbank) under threat of wracking (or promise of beer). (Also, I’ll try and cut back on the parentheticals).

This game was played about a week and a half ago but I am just now getting a bit of time to write it up, so hopefully it is more or less accurate.

Enough with the lollygagging, we are both notorious faction hoppers and have decided that for 2015 we are going to try and up our game and to do that we are going to stick to a single faction – and within that faction stick to just a couple of lists to try and get a lot of serious reps in and we are even going to try and hit the monthly tourneys at Game Empire (stomping ground of the likes of Brandon Cating, Tom Guan(until recently), Cwaig Conwoy – Flanzer has moved out to this area so I reckon he will be there and some other super sweet people and amazing players that don’t travel so you probably haven’t heard of – in short, it’s a pretty special place and I am pretty lucky to live in this neighborhood). In addition to getting better at Warmachine Dave is also trying to educate my beer palate somewhat, so this battle report is flavored with a bit of:

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So anyway, my chosen faction is returning to my first love. I am running Lylyth2 and Thagrosh2 as two of my focus casters for the year – the third is still up in the air. I was thinking I would try out Absylonia2 but I have had abysmal luck in the games I have played with her so am looking to Kallus or one of the Vayls. Anyway, that is a post for another day. What matters is that I brought Lylyth2 and Thagrosh2 for this matchup. Well, actually, I only brought Lylyth2, Thagrosh2 was at a friend’s house, but I knew going into it I was playing against Menoth and as a result I felt that Lylyth2 would be the drop I would be making regardless. But Dave didn’t need to know that.

Rather than running with one of JVM’s lists I am actually of the Ben Leeper Reformation Movement of the Church of Everblight so I am running:

Lylyth, Shadow of Everblight
– Succubus
– Angelius
– Naga Nightlurker
– Ravagore
– Ravagore
– Shredder
– Teraph
Blighted Nyss Shepherd
Blighted Nyss Shepherd
Strider Deathstalker
Strider Deathstalker
The Forsaken
Totem Hunter
Swamp Gobbers Bellows Crew

and for completeness sake, and if you think my eThags list would be better, please let me know – that is also Leeper’s list:

Thagrosh, the Messiah
– Succubus
– Scythean
– Scythean
– Raek
– Raek
– Seraph
Spell Martyrs
The Forsaken
Blighted Nyss Shepherd
Full Blighted Nyss Legionnaires
– Captain Farilor & Standard
Swamp Gobbers Bellows Crew
Full Spawning Vessel

Dave had a Feora2 list and a Harbinger list. While I hoped he would bring Harbie, there was really no chance of him bringing anything other than Feora2.

Feora, Protector of the Flame –
– Judicator
– Reckoner
– Templar
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution
The Covenant of Menoth
Vassal Mechanik
Vassal of Menoth
Vassal of Menoth
Choir of Menoth
Visgoth Juviah Rhoven & Honor Guard
Min Holy Zealots and Monolith Bearer

and

The Harbinger of Menoth – WJ: +5
– Hierophant
– Devout
Vessel of Judgment
Exemplar Bastion Seneschal
Exemplar Errant Seneschal
Vassal Mechanik
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist
Exemplar Bastions – Leader and 4 Grunts:
Exemplar Errants – Leader and 9 Grunts:
– Exemplar Errant Officer & Standard – Exemplar Errant Officer & Standard
Knights Exemplar – Leader and 5 Grunts:
Max Holy Zealots and Monolith Bearer

 

The Game:

So we rolled up Process of Elimination and setup the table. I won the roll to choose table sides and chose to go second with an eye toward winning on scenario. I figured with my speed I should be able to use my feat to clear a zone on turn two as well as to kill an objective and dominate that zone for a fairly easy 3 points. A well applied pursuit should keep Lylyth safe enough and then his Judicator would be unable to contest both zones and as long as I survived a Roven powered Reckoner assault shot I should be able to switch zones and win on 3. No plan survives contact, but it seems sound enough. We set the deathclocks up and began deployment. I deployed with that in mind. This is what the table looked like after Dave’s deployment (ignore the Teraph – he isn’t actually there – I forgot to do a pic after mine).

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I deployed pretty centrally myself with the plan I mentioned above in mind. I had the speed to switch sides pretty easily and that was my intent. He would have to spend a turn running in order to counter and that would let me win without getting shot too much. His infantry was on the left side and combined with the forest I thought it would be a bit more protected so I intended on dominating that one first and then switching field for turn 3 so I had that teraph AD up on that side. The totem hunter put prey on Roven. His guys could stay pretty far back and still do their thing, but this would keep them from being aggressive and getting into the zone (I hoped) and relegate them to a purely support role.

Turn 1 was pretty standard, his zealots popped minifeat to be immune to damage and ran forward into that zone. Feora put escort up and advanced behind the judicator.

I countered by moving up the succubus and putting dragon’s fire on the teraph who then advanced and got a good scatter and set 3 of them on fire including the monolith bearer – I couldn’t hurt them now, but next turn they could burn. Also, with their short range, the teraph’s reach would keep them at bay and prevent them from getting too aggressive with their molotov cocktails. Everything else moved up cautiously.

Lylyth cast shadowpack and I made a coupe of huge errors this turn one mattered, one didn’t. I kept the angelius back thinking to use its handcannon shot on feat turn or to pierce the objective if necessary (remember the plan?). and moved one of the Ravagores out of Lylyth’s control area and thus out of shadow pack range (oops). I also moved the two shepherds behind a forest quite cleverly where they couldn’t be targeted and they weren’t even near anything that could be targeted but were close to each other. Unfortunately, Judicator is kind of like a fireworks stand exploding when it shoots. Two big errors. Gobbers move up and drop a cloud to protect Lylyth and the Angelius and the Shredder moves up. Oh yeah, I didn’t put any fury on any beasts. 3 big errors. D’oh! The totem hunter ran up the right flank.

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We start off the turn by rolling on fire and two of them go out, including the one on the monolith bearer. One of the zealots burns to death. Feora upkeeps escort and gives some focus out to both judicator and reckoner. Roven lets the reckoner ignore stealth and he takes an assault shot at the totem hunter but misses. The zealots all advance at the teraph and throw firebombs and do some damage but leave him on 4 boxes, taking out only his mind aspect. Judicator advances and fires his ridiculous fireworks and lays down fire templates all over hell and half of Georgia setting the unstealthed ravagore on fire and killing the shepherds. I really need to remember to leave them 9″ behind the ravagore. They had no business being up that close. All things considered, I actually got off fairly light, but that was due to me being back really far. Planning for the turn 2 feat let me hang back a ridiculous distance, and having the teraph with reach on one side, and the totem hunter on the other to just be nuisances was really nice. Unfortunately I have lost my fury management so it is time to plan ahead. Also, the choir sang passage on the ‘jacks which I took as a personal insult.

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Remember that awesome plan I had to win? Well, at this point, for no good reason, I had this idea. I wonder if I can kill the judicator if I put pincushion on it. The idea that no plan survives contact with the enemy is SUPPOSED to mean that that the situation on the field necessitates the plan to change. In this situation, the plan was going perfectly, and like an idiot and for no good reason I decided to change it. So let’s see how that worked out for me, shall we?

Well, first off, let’s upkeep shadowpack for free, and cut myself for 3 fury, because that is what you do with a 5 fury caster with 15 boxes and a beast heavy list. Next up, let’s pretend I am going to get a follow up turn and plan for some frenzy management. I used to play trollbloods, so I know how to use whelps. The gobbers run into position to be eaten by ravagores. Lylyth goes next and advances the full 7″, and measures 10 inches and has to guess whether or not judicator is within 15″ for the pincushion. I go ahead and pop feat, think I am out so boost a shot at one of the zealots, swift hunter moves the 2″, takes the shot at the judicator to make sure I am in range for pincushion since being out would be terrible, gets the hit, rolls an 11 anyway and does some damage, lands the pin cushion, takes the feat shot  at another zealot, falls back 2″, (that was the snap fire shot), kills him then falls back again. At this point, I have 2 fury left, (I had to boost to make sure I got in range remember?) and think “She’s like Sorscha, with her stats, 2 extra armor isn’t going to make any difference, especially with cutting for fury” and used it to cast wraithbane on the teraph.

Stop and think about that fail for a second. Fury and armor in the same sentence.

Also I patted myself on the back for being clever enough not to waste a fury to heal the teraph’s mind reasoning that pincushion would let it hit alright anyway. I then proceed to put wraithbane out on the ravagores with the succubus and naga and wreck the right side and get the left down to 13 boxes. The totem hunter advanced and then leapt over the reckoner trying to get to the vassal but could only engage a choir member which he missed on a 3. The deathstalkers killed off all but one of the zealots with their sniper shenanigans and the angelius advanced and fired its handcannon shot at the monolith bearer and missed the first time but killed it on the second leaving the objective in the zone. Ugh. I looked at the table and remembered my plan and saw that had I actually done it, the templar would have been wrecked, the judicator would have had pursuit on it and I would have had 3 control points and been VERY well positioned to get those final two. Sigh. Instead the table looked like this. The shredder, ever the optimist, advanced and put tenacity on Lylyth.

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Dave was determined not to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and had plenty of time on his clock so he settled down his excitement a bit and made sure and did everything properly. He upkept escort, handed out focus to both the reckoner and the judicator. He had the choir sing battle on all of his jacks. Went ahead and had the reckoner kill the totem hunter to prevent any lucky free strikes. Roven granted ability to see through stealth, just in case Lylyth was able to evasive away from the first spray. Had the vassal repair the damaged side. Judicator advanced and then Lylyth was just at the 10″ spray range so a single evasive would be HUGE letting me dance back and then he would have to rely on his inaccurate blasts. Alas it was not to be, the first spray hit and the Shadow of Everblight evaporated in the Fires of Menoth.

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After Action Review:

Oof. That was an object lesson in what not to do and what to do. Dave played a solid game. He had a plan and stuck to it. I had a plan and didn’t. He got the win and deserved it. I actually didn’t feel to bad after this loss, I felt pretty good actually. I learned a lot during the course of the game about myself. First off, this was about 4 weeks after my new baby was born was at my most exhausted (I am a bit better now) so was really running on muscle memory, and it was interesting how much of that was still Khador. Not just the fury/focus aspect, but in my head I was calling her Sorscha throughout the night and at one point I was even thinking about windrushing. I am better now, but that tells me I really need to get those neural pathways rewired to raise my game to the next level and the only way to do that is lots and lots of games and studying and working at it. Which sounds strange when you think of it in reference to a game, but its like anything. This is something I enjoy and obsess over, I just need to do a bit of rewiring and the way for that to happen is to narrow it down. So to do that, I have packed up my Khador and put it in storage so I can focus, I’ve changed my avatar on the PP forums (yes it matters) and even put away the cards. I really am enjoying Legion a lot. I like the way that they are a Combined Arms (sorry Shep – I know you hate the term) faction in a way that Khador is. I like the lower model count, I like the dragon aesthetic (I’ve had a dragon tattoo for more years than this game has been around) and I really like the differing play style options it provides. It was a painful loss because I made so many errors, but at the same time, the loss was well and truly due entirely to myself. Looking at the game I can see not just one thing, but MANY things I could have done to make it more competitive and change the outcome – if not to a win, at least to a more competitive game and that really excites me. So I am looking forward to the rematch, as well as to the super secret project we are working on with fellow PG Shawn!

Thanks for making it through this epic battle report, and thanks to Dave for the game! Also, now that things are settling down a bit, expect a bit more regular posting schedule once again!

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So the World Team Championship for Warmachine and Hordes just wrapped up over the weekend. Congratulations to Poland’s Red team for taking home 1st prize at the inaugural event. It seemed like a great success all around. USA Team Blue also deserves kudos with their impressive 2nd place finish and rounding out the top 3 is Prime Sweden. Congrats to all of the teams.

I have gathered the rough Khador specific stats and dropped them here. I have a couple of caveats – first off it being a team event and the specifics of the way matchups went the lists are built to fill holes in teams rather than all be all comers. For this reason, I am trying not to read too much into the stats, but rather just kind of taking in the variety and how well they performed in their given match ups. My friend @kriegspiele has the full lists over at his blog as well as some of his own analysis so I am not going to copy all of the lists here, just tell him I sent you 😉

Now with that wishy washy disclaimer out of the way here are the stats:

Final Overall Khador WTC Record: 24/36 (I count both results when khador on khador)

Round 1 (1-11)
Harkevich vs. Caine2 (L) – Caster Kill
Butcher vs. Mordikaar (L) – Caster Kill
Irusk vs. Feora2 (L) – Scenario
Skarre vs. Vlad2 (L) – Caster Kill
Old Witch vs. Kaelyssa (L) – Scenario
Vlad3 vs. Haley2 (L) – Caster Kill
Feora2 vs. Butcher2 (L) – Caster Kill
Harbinger vs. Karchev (L) – Deathclock
Borka vs. Vlad2 (W) – Caster Kill
Butcher2 vs. Vayl2 (L) – Caster Kill
Butcher3 vs. Harbinger (L) – Caster Kill
Vayl2 vs. Strakhov (L) – Caster Kill

Round 2 (7-5)
Cassius vs. Sorscha2 (L) – Scenario
Harkevich vs. Deneghra (L) – Scenario
Irusk2 vs. Haley (L) – Caster Kill
Butcher2 vs. Harbinger (L) – Caster Kill
Butcher3 vs. Feora2 (W) – Caster Kill
Sorscha2 vs. Haley2 (W) – Scenario
Butcher vs. Fiona (W) – Caster Kill
Kromac vs. Butcher3 (W) – Caster Kill
Irusk vs. Makeda2 (W) – Caster Kill
Sorscha vs. Sorscha2 (W/L) – Caster Kill
Butcher2 vs. Skarre (W) – Caster Kill

Round 3 (8-4)
Butcher2 vs. Kreuger (L) – Scenario
Borka vs. Butcher (L) – Scenario
Butcher2 vs. Ravyn (W) – Scenario
Vyros vs. Butcher (L) – Caster Kill
Rahn vs. Irusk (W) – Caster Kill
Butcher2 vs. Cassius (W) – Scenario
Butcher2 vs. Deneghra (W) – Caster Kill
Damiano vs. Butcher3 (W) – Scenario
Vlad2 vs. Caine2 (L) – Caster Kill
Butcher3 vs. Asphyxious2 (W) – Scenario
Sorscha2 vs. Caine2 (W) – Caster Kill
Makeda2 vs. Sorscha2 (W) – Scenario

Round 4 (4-8)
Asphyxious2 vs. Butcher2 (W) – Scenario
Ravyn vs. Vlad2 (L) – Caster Kill
Haley vs. Sorscha (L) – Scenario
Harbinger vs. Irusk2 (W) – Caster Kill
Terminus vs. Butcher2 (L) – Caster Kill
Old Witch vs. Ravyn (L) – Scenario
Sorscha2 vs. Skarre (L) – Deathclock
Grim2 vs. Vlad2 (L) – Caster Kill
Butcher vs. Ravyn (L) – Scenario
Butcher3 vs. Vayl2 (W) – Scenario
Madrak vs. Butcher (W) – Caster Kill
Old Witch vs. Feora2 (L) – Deathclock

Round 5 (4-8)
Morvahna2 vs. Butcher2 (L) – Caster Kill
Haley vs. Sorscha (L) – Caster Kill
Butcher2 vs. Caine2 (W) – Scenario
Butcher3 vs. Doomshaper (W) – Caster Kill
Terminus vs. Sorscha2 (L) – Caster Kill
Deneghra vs. Butcher3 (L) – Caster Kill
Butcher vs. Morvahna2 (W) – Scenario
Vlad2 vs. Deneghra2 (W) – Caster Kill
Harkevich vs. Sloan (L) – Caster Kill
Terminus vs. Butcher2 (L) – Caster Kill
Irusk vs. Damiano (L) – Caster Kill
Sorscha2 vs. Lylyth2 (L) – Caster Kill

And by caster below. Also, I am not going to do by individual player.

Harkevich – (0-3)
Butcher – (3-4)
Irusk – (2-2)
Vlad2 – (2-4)
Old Witch – (0-3)
Vlad3 – (0-1)
Butcher2 – (6-7)
Karchev – (0-1)
Butcher3 – (6-2)
Strakov – (0-1)
Sorscha2 – (3-5)
Sorscha – (1-2)
Irusk2 – (1-1)

And here is how we won or lost our games.

Caster Kill – (14-24)
Scenario – (10-9)
Deathclock – (0-3)

So, some initial thoughts are, ouch. It was a rough time for Khador. Now as I said above, the format is kind of wonky and who knows why they were building them the way they were. Many of the favored teams going in to the tourney didn’t even HAVE a khador player on the roster. Poland Red, who won, did. In fact, they had a crazy Karchev/AK build list. I have to temper the excitement of that, though, and point out that the Khador player on Poland Red went 1-4. Now he could have been there to take the tough draws that no one else wanted, and so contributed to his team’s overall win which he did do.

What does this mean for Khador as a whole? Well, we generally do decently in the local metas, and on the big stage tend to underperform. There are as many ideas as to why that is as there are Khador players. Not surprisingly, I have my own thoughts.

I think that Khador as a faction tends to be pretty straightforward. We can build our lists in a number of different ways and the power level between our strongest and weakest choices is generally not a huge divide. That means that we can play most casters and most units and many of us do that. A faction like Cygnar or Legion of Everblight, for instance, has a much bigger difference between a caster like Haley2 and Darius or Saeryn and Rhyas. The same divide exists within the units and jack choices as well. I personally believe that the true net benefit of that, is not that the units/casters/jacks are so much better than what we have in Khador, but the table time is significantly higher in those other factions since you kind of HAVE to play them. In this game table time and experience will ALWAYS trump list selection. In an improbably ridiculous hypothetical 6 caster divide and conquer tourney, for instance, I would put my money on Khador every time.

I am really looking forward to some more in-depth analysis of specific faction/caster matchups and the coverage that will be on endgamegaming.net – it should be a lot of fun to analyze each of the faction’s individual performances as well as the different faction caster’s performances.

My take away from this since I am wanting to do well on the national level at cons is that I really need to decide what I want to play with, and stick with it and get that table time and experience and be able to know each unit’s capabilities inside and out. Now this is something I was leaning toward already so it could just be confirmation bias but I am really going to work hard at narrowing my options and going with a very limited selection of choices. Look for my next few posts to be in line with the Master’s Plan I mentioned in an earlier post but not necessarily those lists. Butcher3 really brings some exciting changes and possibilities and I would like to see how he pairs.

Scenario 4, aka Ammunition Run, is another fairly common scenario at tourneys so it pays to spend a bit of practice time with it. Let’s take a look at the this and plan our path to victory.

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This is another Assault Scenario which typically means a mashup in the middle. In fact, there is just a single rectangle zone that is 6″x12″ in the dead center of the table. There are also 3 objectives in this scenario –  a friendly objective to each player which is a bit off on the right flank and near the middle of the table (20″ from deployment table edge) as well as an objective in the middle of the table that is an enemy to both players.

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As the tactical tip so helpfully informs us this “enemy” objective in the zone means that neither player can control the zone until it has been destroyed. Since I brought it up, let’s take a look at the objectives next (all three are the same).

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I made the card big because there is a lot of text on this one and my eyes are old.

Like all objectives in sr2013 they are models on large (50mm) bases. The other generally shared characteristics of objectives, are immobile so it cannot be knocked down or moved, is automatically hit in melee, cannot be engaged nor can it engage, immune to continuous effects, and cannot be damaged or targeted until the 2nd players 2nd turn.  Again, those are not really unique to this scenario, just to all objectives so it is worth remembering.

As an ammo dump it is only fitting that if your caster dominates the objective (pop quiz: how close do we need the caster to be to the objective and how far must enemies be to dominate? *see below) that ranged weapons of friendly models within 2″ of the objective gain +1 RNG. I know that +1″ doesn’t seem like a huge boon but ranges tend to be so short in this game that it can often mean the difference between being in charge range of an enemy or not. You shouldn’t risk yourself going for it, but it can be a nice bonus and is certainly worth considering.

Speaking of risks, we note that this objective has the rule “Explosive”. When the objective is destroyed models within 2″ (the same distance as those who were getting the bonus range) suffer a POW 12 magical damage roll and the Fire continuous effect. For those of you fortunate enough never to have seen the horror of a model set on fire before, let me tell you from first hand experience that it kills casters dead. In a nutshell, you test during the maintenance phase but only after your have dumped your focus to 0 if you are warcaster (you knew that happened, right?) On a 1 or a 2 it goes out, if not you take a pow 12 damage roll. Don’t think you warlocks get off much better than casters – remember you don’t leach fury until your control phase so if your beasts are maxed out you can’t transfer to them and you still have to have a fury on yourself. It is a very high risk proposition and since in this particular scenario you can’t get control points by dominating the friendly objective, unless you really think that 1″ will make the difference in the game, I would suggest you not dominate the objective. Dying from fire in a game you are otherwise winning is very frustrating. You don’t even get control points for dominating the enemy objective so just destroy it (which is how you get the control points).

How hard is it to destroy you may ask? This particular objective is not too hard at all. It is armor 15 with 15 boxes. It will take some effort, but not a ton. Also, this is an objective you really want to destroy with ranged weapons since, with a few exceptions, the longest ranged melee weapons are reach weapons at 2″ which means that they take a pow 12 hit and get set on fire when destroying the objective. It might be worth it to sacrifice a model or two but make sure that decision is intentional, not an “oops, I just killed 5 of my own Iron Fang Pikemen” move.

So, how do we actually get control points and win this one (without fiery death of a caster)? Let’s look at the rules.

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You only get control points based on the objectives being destroyed if they are enemy objectives. The practical application of this is that generally you should try and take out the middle one first. You can always get the far enemy objective later and that gives you a control point that they can’t make up by destroying yours. The exception to this is if their warlock/warcaster (or some other low or medium armor high value target)  is within 2″ of the objective it might be worth it to try and blow it up to set them on fire (assuming they aren’t immune).

The other two ways to get control points, of course, are by either controlling or dominating the zone. Remember you can’t do this while the objective is there, so don’t forget that, but also remember that it is fairly fragile and your opponent might waste an infantry model or two wrecking it and then dominating the zone, so don’t count on it to be your linebacker.

You get 1 control point for controlling the zone and 2 control points for dominating the zone. Remember, the first to 5 control points wins. That means there can be an incredible 4 points gained on a single turn – destroy both enemy objectives and dominate the zone. That 4 point swing could put you up so far that your opponent has to scramble just to not lose immediately.

*Answer to the pop quiz “an objective is dominated if there is a warcaster/warlock within 2″ of an objective that an opponent does not contest (any enemy models within 2” of an objective contest it). But you knew that, of course. Give yourself a gold star.

Today in the SR2013 Primer Series we’ll be going over Scenario 2: Supply and Demand.

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You’ll notice that this a Guard Scenario. That doesn’t really mean anything for all practical purposes other than the bucket that the scenario is in.

Usually when you belly up to table the first thing that will stand out to you in the table setup, which is why I have chosen to cover the layout first. You can often get your first hint as to what scenario you are playing by taking a look at what is set up on the table.

In the case of Supply and Demand you will notice (in addition to the terrain) a circular zone and 2 objectives.

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So looking at the table lets us know that we will be able to score control points in three different ways; controlling the zone, dominating the zone, and destroying the enemy objective. In a multi-list environment before you have even seen the specific scenario being played, just taking a look at the table can give you hints for which caster to choose as well as whether you will want to go first or second. Going second gives you the option of choosing table side and while it is common to just choose the side you are at, this is a great opportunity to really look at what the table terrain offers you. Is there a piece of terrain on one side that will give you an opportunity to dominate with your caster from the relative safety of a wall or hill? Are there any LOS issues or places you can hide a solo completely yet still impact the game by digging in and contesting the zone? Are there any choke points that will affect your ability to bring your forces to bear?

A single zone is often more difficult to get control points out of than multiple zones and this is especially true with the large circular zone. It won’t tell you which to go for, but it can help inform your choices. It can also give you a bit of insight into how your opponent will want to win.

Now that we have taken in the table layout, let’s take a look at the special rules for Supply and Demand.

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The first thing we notice in the rule box is that this scenario has the Kill Box artifice. What this means is that if, starting at the end of the first player’s second turn, your caster is completely within 14″ of any table edge your opponent immediately scores 2 control points. Kill box combined with the single circular zone typically means that there will be quite a scrum near the middle of the table. The fact that your caster must be within 10″ of the center of the table also means that you must usually take additional precautions to protect your caster.

The active ways to get control points are to control the zone (1), dominate the zone (2), destroy the enemy objective (1), or dominate the enemy objective (2).

Let’s review the specific requirements:

The first player to get to at least 5 control points wins the game. To control a zone we need to have at least one model in the zone with no enemy non-caster models. Additionally, if that model is part of a unit it must be at least 50% in strength and all of the models must be in that zone.

To dominate the zone the caster must be in the zone with no enemy non-caster models.

Destroying an objective is fairly straight forward – starting with the second players second turn you can attack the objective like any other model. A card is included with the scenario because the objectives are slightly different in each one. The one below is the stat card for the Supply and Demand objective, (aka Supply Cache).

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The Supply Cache is armor 15 with 15 wounds making it the easiest to destroy. A warcaster dominating this objective (by being within 2″ with no enemy models within 2″) can have a warjack within 2″ charge or run for free. Of interesting note, you can dominate an objective starting on turn 1.

This objective also has a special rule with doesn’t allow a caster to dominate the zone if the enemy supply cache is in their control area which means you are probably going to want to destroy the enemy one. While there is the opportunity to score 2 control points by dominating the enemy objective this is unlikely unless you have a caster with a fairly crazy movement range and/or are willing to run to it – this will likely put you behind enemy lines but if you have a chance and are 2 control points from winning, it is worth remembering.

Conversely, if you think your opponent might try and pull this it can be worthwhile to destroy your own objective. Please note that this will give your opponent 1 control point, but if you feel that they can dominate that objective it might be better to give up that one control point than two.

In general with this scenario you can expect mass casualties. The combination of a single central zone, kill box, and single objective per player means that both players will be concentrating their forces and typically you are going to have to just grind out the win on scenario. It also means that there is a higher than average danger of your caster being threatened by an assassination. This also means if you have an assassination caster you might see some good opportunities.

It can be possible to “jam” your opponent out of the zone with particularly fast or possibly resilient pieces to score an early control point or two so be aware that is a possibility.

This is a good scenario for those  casters who like to move up and get stuff done in person anyway. Good candidates are the brick casters like Xerxis or Butcher or the ranged assassins like Ravyn or Lylyth2. Finally, since it is a single zone, some of the control casters can bounce enemy models out of the zone and win fairly quickly with a 6 point control point swing over 3 player turns which gives enough to win. Magnus2 and Kreuger2 both have feats to watch out for.

Remember that control points are tallied on each players turn and that both players can earn those points so if you can dominate the zone your opponent absolutely MUST either get a model into the zone at any cost (possibly even running and sacrificing an otherwise active piece’s activation opportunity).

Thanks for taking the time to read this and If you have any questions, tips, or want to point out something I screwed up please do!

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Welcome to the first installment of a series of articles introducing players to Steamroller 2013 (SR2013) play. I would like to start off with a bit of a disclaimer. I am a good player, but definitely not one of the greats. Since these are my thoughts at the time of writing they might be completely inaccurate. I also reserve the right to change my mind on any of these. This is just an overview primarily for the fairly young (playtime wise) meta at my FLGS, Emerald Knights in Burbank. The official Steamroller packet is at http://privateerpress.com/organized-play/steamroller-tournaments if you want to download them for yourself (which I highly recommend).

30 Second Wrap Up (aka tldr; give me the good stuff)

/begin 30 second wrap up

This is a really basic intro to SR2013. Tourneys can be very fun and the more prepared you are the more fun you will have.

Terrain is important, put some thought into it. The tables should be fair but not symmetrical. Make it a real choice between going first or choosing table side. Good terrain makes the game more fun.

Use some form of clock. Timed turns and chess clock are the most common forms of clock. There are pros and cons to both, but both can really improve the game experience

“Thou shalt remember the mission objective and keep it holy.” Scenarios give you an extra win (or lose) condition. Control the zone or flag or destroy objectives and then control the zone or flag. You can’t score any CPs until the second players second turn. Win the game, have fun. It is an extra tactical dimension and can open up new play styles and casters. Read the scenario before every game.

Play the game. Have fun.

/end 30 second wrap up

By the way, I am stealing the idea of a 30 second wrap up from Mike Shea over at mikeshea.net – let me know what you think of it.

I absolutely reject the idea that competitive or tourney play sucks all the life out of the game. It is a great opportunity to exercise your brain with some tactical problems as well as stretch that social leg and meet new people plus you get to play several games in a relatively short amount of time. The vast majority of people at a tournament are going to be hobbyists and gamers like you. Most of them are cool and the games will be a fun challenge. That being said, don’t be a “win at all costs” dick. These players are far fewer and further between than the internet would have you believe. They exist, but I have gone to many many events and have only seen one or two of those people. Embrace the soul of Page 5 which I basically like to paraphrase as “play hard, try your best to win, but above all else make sure and have fun”. You can maximize that fun by being familiar enough with the scenarios that you don’t have to think too much about learning them, you can just work on achieving them.

“So, you wanna play a game”

Since the is the first installment I am going to take the opportunity to start from the second floor up for this series. (I assume you already have your game size decided and your opponent picked out).

The first thing to do is to set up the table. I know that we don’t have the best terrain available (yet) but here is the guideline from the SR2013 pack.

“As a general rule, an average table should contain five to seven pieces of terrain placed close enough to eliminate large open areas without unduly constricting movement. The size of terrain pieces is also important. No piece should be insignificantly small or extremely large; terrain pieces that range from 4 ̋ to 7 ̋ in length and width are best.”

There are a couple of other guidelines beyond that – the big ones are no terrain in deployment zones, no terrain within 3″ of another piece of terrain, no impassible terrain within 2″ of objectives or 4″ of flags.

Also, we have had a tendency to set our terrain up pretty much in a symmetrical fashion. This has been fine for our games in the past since we were mostly playing some kind of caster kill and just getting our heads around the game. The problem with this in the longer term is that there is no real reason to consider taking a table side if you win the roll off to see who goes first. The terrain should be even (i.e. if there is a wall on one side of the table there should be something that provides cover somewhere on the other side which may or may not be a wall – it doesn’t have to be exact but it also shouldn’t be ridiculously one sided either).

Terrain adds extra dimensions both strategically and tactically and really enhances the game so I recommend people give this a shot. Also, terrain that sets up a story is always full of win in my book. It is possible to be both fluffy and balanced. Strive for that gaming Nirvana.

“The Final Countdown”
This next category is one certain to cause a fair amount of controversy. Yes, that’s right, I am talking about timed games. There are 2 basic kinds of timed games for SR2013 play and each have their advantages and disadvantages and I will talk a little bit about each of them. I am going to use 35 points as an example for both formats since that is a fairly common size at our game nights.

First up is Death Clock. It sounds intimidating, but really it just means that both players start the game with a “bucket” containing the same amount of time as determined by the size of game being played. This is basically like using chess clocks for those of you who have seen it. A 35 point game gives both players 42 minutes in total to use as they see fit. If a player runs out of time they lose the game immediately as if their caster had been assassinated. They are usually said to have “clocked themselves”. Interestingly, in an actual tournament, there is a round timer going as well which is set to the total of both players clocks (so 84 minutes in our example). This can come up if you have been pausing clocks a lot but it is rare. Deployment is done on the clock in Death Clock.

There are several benefits to the Death Clock format. You can bank up time on those early turns by keeping them quick. You can take your time on those long feat turns and don’t have to worry about running out of time (unless you are very near the end of your clock). The tournament organizer can predict very closely to how long the total tournament is going to run. A game will rarely end in a tie and you are far less likely to have to rely on tie-breakers to determine the winner. It allows list styles and casters which might be unfeasible under timed turns.

However, Death Clock is not without its drawbacks. If one player gets a significant time advantage they can start to play the clock by withdrawing and hoping to force their opponent to run out of time. A player can determine that they don’t feasibly have a chance for the scenario and the format discourages just trying to get an advantage on scenario points. Chess clocks can be expensive (although there are a lot of good free apps for smart phones).

Timed turns present their own set of benefits and drawbacks. For 35 point games each player gets 7 minutes to complete their turn with one optional extension of 3 minutes for a total game length of 70 minutes +/- d3 minutes x the extension duration (so the actual game round time is from 61-79 minutes). The variable is included to keep players from knowing exactly when the game is going to end and stalling on their turns as the game goes on if they are in a superior position for tiebreakers. If a player forgets to send the clock over their opponent when they are done with their turn it can have dire consequences.

Now, on to the benefits of this format. Your time management is forced but the hard deadline of the turn time. Your opponent has the exact same amount of time per turn as you. It keeps the game moving at a quick pace through the entire game. There is a very real reason to try and get up even just 1 or 2 control points and hold.

The main drawbacks: a player in a superior position could start to “slow play” toward the end of the round and use the full 7 minutes hoping for the game to end. It can be difficult to run some casters who have long feats and some list styles don’t work as well like mass infantry or heavy shooting for example simply because those tend to take a little longer to resolve. A player can play “keep away” a bit more effectively and prevent a solid engagement. A game can end in a tie.

My personal preference is Death Clock. I like being able to take a long turn or two if needed and a draw to me is always less than satisfying. I would rather a clean loss than a draw. That being said, some people prefer timed turns and a lot of the time when you are playing in a tournament it will largely depend on what timing devices the store has available. As an organizer Death Clock is preferable as well for the aforementioned reasons.

Either way I highly recommend putting some kind of clock on the game. I find that regardless of the result, playing a 4 hour 35 point game feels like a loss to both players. If you are intimidated use casual or relaxed timing – say 10 minutes per turn for a 35 point game just to get used to playing with a clock.

“Why are we doing this again?”

There are 3 core concepts for victory conditions in the SR2013 scenarios. These concepts are Zones, Flags, and Objectives. I’ll talk a little bit about those below. These concepts are what allow you to score control points and win games by scenario. Control points are also an important tie breaker for both the game round and the tournament as a whole so I would recommend you try and get them while keeping your opponent from doing the same.

There are only 2 kinds of zones. Rectangles that are 6″x12″ and a 12″ circle. Regardless of the shape they have the same basic rules for scoring. You have to have a friendly model in the zone and there can be no enemy models in the zone to control it. Additionally, if the models you are trying to control a zone with are part of a unit, the unit must be at least at 50% of its starting strength with all members of the unit in the zone. Jacks, beasts, and solos as long as they are functional can control it even if just down to a single box. Contesting a zone does not have the at requirement, just a single model in the zone will contest but it cannot be fleeing or a beast or jack without a controller.

Casters cannot contest a zone. Nor do they control a zone. Instead, they “dominate” a zone which typically gives you an extra control point. You cannot both control and dominate a zone.

Flags are “models” that are on 40mm bases. They are incorporeal which means that you can move through them as long as you can get completely past their base. They can’t be targeted or affected in any way. You can also draw line of site through them. The way you score a flag is by having one or move models in base to base with the flag and no enemy models within 4″ of the flag. Like with zones, there is no additional requirement for solos, beasts, or jacks. For a unit the entire unit must be within 4″ of it and the unit must still be at or above 50% of its starting strength.

The dominate rules are the same as above with the exception that the caster has to be base to base with the flag.

The final scoring concept is the objective. This is a 50mm model and each scenario contains a card with the stats of the objective for the scenario. Whereas flags are, for the most part, static and not “interactable” objectives can be targeted and destroyed (often for points) and many of them do stuff. There is also the idea of friendly and enemy objectives. An enemy objective counts as a an enemy model for all practical purposes including contesting zones.

Typically objectives can only be dominated by the caster and the caster must be within 2″ and no enemy models within 2″.

There is a wider variety of scenario specifics for objectives than for flags so I will just refer you to the specific scenario for the rules governing that objective. As I am doing scenario overviews I will also cover them more in depth.

Whether dealing with zones, flags, or objectives you cannot score control points until the end of the second player’s second turn. Objectives can be neither targeted nor damaged until the second player’s second turn and only one objective can be damaged per turn (thus only one can be destroyed per turn).

Scenarios are great because there are some casters who really just do not compete in caster kill only games but shine in a scenario game. Maybe that caster you may have loved the background or the model for but could never quite make work will be able to show you the good stuff.

The point of this series and the recommended scenario at Emerald Knights is not to force people to play a game they don’t want to play. It is totally optional but highly recommend because it can really open the game up in new ways. At the end of the day though, this is a hobby and a pastime – so please enjoy it!

I have rambled on this longer than I expected to and God forbid I edit so instead I am just going to wrap this up here.

The next article will be on Scenario 2: Supply and Demand (since my group has already done our game night focus on Scenario 1. I will get back to it eventually though.

I am going to try and be more diligent in writing up quick recap/reports.  We have been doing a lot of timed games (almost exclusively in fact) so I am not great about remembering to take pictures.  I will add them when I have them, otherwise I will try and keep it simple enough.

Played an unorthodox Grim list against Dave’s Durgen Rhulic list in 35 point game to kick off the league.  Basically I had just built the Sons of Bragg and felt like playing them.  The Skinner has been fun so he is in too.  Dave was also trying out some new stuff so it looked to be an interesting match.

Grim
Earthborn Dire Troll
Bomber
Impaler
Scouts
Skinner
Sons of Bragg
Fell Caller Hero

vs

Durgen
Ghordson Basher
Gunner or Blaster (don’t remember for sure which one)
Brun Cragback
Herne and Jonne
10 Forgeguard
5 Ogrun Assault Corps
Thor Steinhammer

We rolled up the Close Quarters scenario and I won the roll and chose to go second.  First turn the rhulic forces all advanced with the basher getting red line cast on it, the trolls advanced a bit more cautiously with the scouts and skinner swinging wide.  Grim put cross country on the Sons of Bragg, far strike on himself, boosted damage and one-shotted one of the assault corps and put girded up (always a good idea when facing Durgen).  This left me at 0 fury but I was okay with it on turn 1 against this rhulic force.  The impaler put farstrike on the bomber and advanced, the bomber killed a second Ogrun after an advance and the EBDT advanced up in front of Grim but out of charge range of anything.

In response Durgen upkept Red Line and put primed on the forge guard.  They charged and the first one was a bit out of charge range so the rest just ran as far as they could.  My cautious advance ensured that only a single scout was tied up in reach range.  Unfortunately for Dave he activated them a little too early and they jammed up the rest of his turn.  Herne (or Jonne) did manage to kill Wrathar and I failed the 4+ tough.

My turn the scouts mostly aimed and threw their tomahawks causing the forge guard to explode.  The fell caller sprayed and killed a couple (including the one that had engaged a scout) as did Tor with his spray.  When all was said and done there were only 3 forge guard left and they failed their morale check.  The bomber also killed Thor who had moved up to repair the 3 damage the basher took from Red Line. The EBDT moved out of line with Grim to get within 2″ of a forest for the following turn EBDT cannon ball act.

I was still mostly out of range this turn though most of the army focused on the EBDT and by the time the basher slammed the EBDT 8″(!) through the remaining 2 sons of bragg, though both made the 4+ tough The EBDT was fairly wounded.  The EBDT died to a 17 on the dice but I thought I had a pretty good shot at the assassination this turn.  Also due to shooting the Impaler lost his spirit and the EBDT took ~12 but to different spirals so no loss of aspect.

Durgen was directly behind one of the ogryn assault corp but at the extreme range.  I considered trying to slam with the impaler but I hate relying on crit so what I did instead was used Grim to heal 1 off the spirit on the Impaler in case he was necessary, put far strike on the bomber, feated, advanced and shot the knockdown gun at the assault corp and knocked him down to clear the lane for the bomber and impaler (if necessary).  Then cast lock the target and got a good damage roll and put some on him.  Durgen was now locked and under feat so it was looking, er, Grim for him.  The bomber advanced, boosted the hit roll, got him and had a pretty good roll for damage and put him down.

It was a good game for the Trollbloods and not so good for the Rhulic forces.  Dave made a couple of early errors which I pounced on and really punished him.  It was a fun game and a win for the first game of the league.

Although it wasn’t my intent I realized at this point that I just needed to paint up one more model to have the battlebox done so I figured may as well.

Then I took a picture of the battlebox.

Madrak, 2 Impalers and an axer.