Posts Tagged ‘strakhov’

I was able to get in a game a bit before Christmas but only now have the time to write it up. As I have mentioned before on Facebook and the PP forums I have decided to stick with just Strakhov and Harkevich until TempleCon. I am calling this my “Hammer and Anvil” sessions with Strakhov being the “glass hammer” and Harkevich being the anvil.

Anyway, I was able to make good on this threat against Shawn’s Vyros1 list. My current working theory is that Strakhov is far more than the “Heaven Piercing Spear” tactic he is best known for and I am keeping that in mind as I plan and play my turns. I visualize him, and thus try to play him, as very patient and calculating but when it is go time, he is ready to go. As an aside, my local group and I have talked before about how cool it is that PP does a great job of making many of the pieces work better when you keep the fluff in mind and use that to inform your game decisions. Obviously that isn’t a license to be an idiot, it is just an interesting observation that has proven itself in the past.

I have also recently finished assembling my gun carriage, so you knew that would show up.

My list:
Strakhov
Black Ivan,
Max AKs with 2 flamethrowers
Min Battle Mechaniks
Min Kossite Woodsmen
Gun Carriage
Iron Fang Kovnik
Koldun Lord
Widowmaker Marksman
Manhunter
Yuri the Axe

They would be facing off against:
Vyros1
2 Manticores
2 Griffins
2 Arcanists
Houseguard Thane
Max Rifleman with UA
Max Halbardiers with UA
Max Sentinels probably with UA

We were playing the early beta version of Incursion where the center flag always stays. He chose to go first and I picked sides. The first thing I noticed after he set up is that he had about a billion dudes. Like seriously, all of Ios was there. My own list felt a bit undermanned, not least of all, I am sure, due to me keeping the Kossites in reserve. The plan with them was to staunch any bleeding of CPs if I was out of position when the flag disappeared. Also, if they had a chance to kill those lousy mechaniks they would.

Shawn deployed most of his stuff as centrally as possible, but again, with a billion angry elves he blotted out his table edge.

I forgot to take a pictures he started moving but it should be good enough to give you an idea. That thing in the middle is a hill, btw, and the white templates there are covering fire. Also, sorry for the crappy pics, I have an old iPhone4.

Image

So the Iosans advanced, the manticores laid down covering fire templates, the halbardiers got inviolable resolve and shield walled with desperate pace from the thane on top of the hill in the middle. The light warjack headed out to the flanks and the sentinels moved toward the flag on my left. The rifleman advanced in a fairly wide line behind the halbardiers.

This is what my deployment looked like:

Image

That is Yuri on the left and both the WMM and the manhunter on the right. I thought that I was being clever with my deployment but then I ended up having a few issues – namely I needed to activate my IFK before I activated the assault kommandos to give them shield march. I needed to get them out of the way so I could get Strakhov over to put sentry on the gun carriage, but I also needed to have the gun carriage go first to protect myself from any silly errant drifts backward and I wanted to make sure and use ride by attack so I could drop some templates and then fall back a bit. So yeah, moral of the story here is to plan your first turn moves and actions before you deploy. Anyway, I made it work (also putting superiority on the spriggan which I upkept for the rest of the game) and then more or less and even had some spot on drifts with the gun carriage. The carnage would have been amazing had the halbardiers not been sitting at armor freaking 20. As it was, I had some fantastic rough templates dropped down and managed to end with sentry on the gun carriage after all. Also, as a bonus, the widowmaker markman advanced up and shot one of the mechanics and then dropped back a bit and my manhunter ran over to the flag on the right. I figured if it stayed I would be in good position and if it disappeared I could continue running to the other side of that forest the next turn just to threaten and be a pain.

Turned out that flag stayed.

Image

Turn 2 we would see just how big of a pain those rough terrain templates would be on the elves. As you can see in the picture above the halberdiers were almost completely covered by the templates. Shawn considered running them but instead just sucked it up and moved forward in shield wall slowly. I triggered sentry to try and give them another bit of rough terrain to deal with, but it scatter back to cover the wall. The thane gave the riflemen firing solution and my poor widowmaker marksman became the first casualty of the new solo’s ability to deny stealth. The light jack on my right advanced on the manhunter and boosted the hit roll but somehow missed with the reach weapon and was out of range for the shield. The manticore then dropped a covering fire template over the middle of the light jack to prevent the manhunter from being able to attack it at all. The sentinels had to scramble for relevance and began shifting laterally to my right after their flag disappeared. I also forgot to take a picture at the end of Shawn’s turn. Vyros ended up moving onto the hill and striking a pose and looking pretty boss.

For my turn I was pretty happy with the table state and decided to hold the Kossites for another turn. I didn’t really need the bonus from shield march since I wasn’t planning on going the full distance forward so he just moved up a bit. The assault kommandos were next since I wanted to give the gun carriage a change to hit. They advanced in shield wall against and started firing gas grenades at the riflemen on the hill. I got a couple of hits despite needing something like a 9 to hit the one not on the hill, this gave me a couple of other targets and I fired the rifles of some of the guys once I was happy with the gassing. I also gassed a couple of my own guys in the back to give them some protection from the halberds the following turn. I still had a couple of rifle shots left so through them up in hope of getting lucky but couldn’t get through armor 20.

The gun carriage went next and with a ride by attack launched 2 more templates. One of them got a direct hit on one of the guys on the hill thanks to the gas and killed him and the one in front who wasn’t benefitting from shield wall since the damage originated in his rear arc. The rifleman on top of the gun carriage finished off the cluster of 3 since the remaining member was alone and no longer in shield wall.

I advanced the spriggan up behind the AKs, pretty much center of the table and ready to respond to whatever came up and fired his grenades but they did nothing. Strakhov fired a smoke grenade into the back of one of the assault kommandos to give a true smoke template to block LOS back to himself and put sentry on the gun carriage again and occultation on himself just because those manticores were starting to give me the willies.  Meanwhile, the koldun lord powerboosted ivan who used the focus to boost his to hit roll on another of the halberdiers and killed him. When all was said and done I think I killed 5 or 6 of the halberds, doing much better than I thought I would. The rough terrain templates below are the brass rings, btw, and at the end of my turn the one under the wall went away but the template was hard to get to so we just left it there.

Image

Shawn spent a bit of time thinking about what to do this turn and finally decided to page 5 it. He gave a focus to the light jack on my left and then found out that the other one was out of Vyros’s control area. He also kept inviolable resolve on the halberds. Yuri ended up not as fortunate as the manhunter and he was cut down with a single blow. The riflemen tried a 4 man CRA on the gun carriage but only did a point or two. The other rifles tried to draw line on Strakhov but was stymied by the cloud so instead they had to slake their bloodthirst on the Iron Fang Kovnik.

The halberds decided to forego shieldwall in order to try and punch the AKs armor and charged. They also popped minifeat just because it was getting a bit late and the store only had about 40 minutes left til close. The gas templates caused him a bit of consternation and he ended up not crowding in quite as much as he might otherwise have liked. He killed a couple of the AKs. Vyros moved over to the forest on the left setting up to maybe dominate the right flag on the next turn. He also moved the manticore more or less between Strakhov and Vyros. Since Strakhov had stealth he ended up covering the middle flag with a covering fire template.

I spent a bit of time looking at the table. Vyros looked a long way off, but he looked like he was about 20″ away from the spriggan so I gave him 3 just in case. I know that I have said that “heaven piercing spear” is not my preferred plan with Strakhov but it is still a tool in the toolbox. Also, the store was closing soon so I figured it was a good time to practice it out – win or lose the game was over soon. My plan of putting the spriggan in the center of the table was decent, but I was pretty well jammed by my own AKs so there was a bit of an order of activation issue that I had to get right. I also decided to bring in the Kossites this turn behind that forest and see if I couldn’t put a few points of damage on Vyros just to make it easier. That didn’t work out (I did get a couple of hits, but couldn’t crack his 19 armor), but they did manage to kill a couple of sentinels so I was still happy with them. The koldun lord sprayed away some halberds to give the AKs a bit of room to get out of the spriggan’s way.

I had the assault kommandos use assault and battery to take some shots and then charge in to kill a few halberds – I had hoped to hit the center halberdier with gas to make it easier for Strakhov to hit when it came up. I made sure and left one halberd that was center of the table with the plan of using him to springboard the feat. Things were set up, so may as well go for it. Strakhov feated to get range to charge the halberd, moving through the covering fire template and taking a couple of points of damage. At the end of my charge I cast overrun with my last 2 focus and had to raw dog the 8 to hit – I had forgotten that they have set defense! Fortunately for me, he pulled it off and easily killed the elf thanks to the ps15 on the charge. I triggered overrun on the spriggan and moved over and set up the lane and used my sprint move to get Vyros in feat range. The spriggan charged and bulldozed the manticore out of the way. The charge ended up being closer than I thought it would be and I only got in range of the reach weapon. I was effectively rat 10 on the charge and I agonized over whether to boost the hit or not but eventually decided to (I am still not sure if that was the right choice). Spriggan got the hit and had a slightly above average damage roll (12 I think). I bought an attack and boosted the to hit with my last focus, got the hit and then got enough to put him in the dirt.

I can’t claim particularly genius tactics this one, but a win is a win and I will take it. I was actually really happy with how the list worked and I was in great position to play a bit of attrition. Had I had more time the plan would have been to use the spriggan to kill the manticore and then overrun back to safety and let the AKs and ivan kill off halberds and start working on scenario.

Image

After action review: I am really happy with how everything worked together this game. This is a list inspired by my conversations with Shwan  (not to be confused with Shawn, my opponent) and against this type of troop spam list worked really well aside from my positioning errors both at deployment and a couple of times that I didn’t mention above (an example was moving the koldun lord to get the spray but blocking in ivan – it didn’t matter in this game, but it could have been a big problem in a longer game. Strakhov seems to reward patience and the longer you can keep your feat as a threat the better off you are – Shawn tried to pull Vyros back and the threat of the feat I think made him more cagey than he would otherwise have been. The rough terrain from the gun carriage was clutch but against something with a lot of access to pathfinder wouldn’t have been as dominant (although three 4″ AOEs is pretty legit against most infantry).

All things considered, I will definitely be giving this list some more table time and soon!

I had a nice chat conversation Shwan on the Privateer Press forums and he shared this battle report with me:

His Strakhov list was (I am missing something):
Strakhov
-Torch
-Devastator
Wardog
Gun Carriage
Full IFP with UA
Steelhead Rifle Corps with Valachev attached
Kell Bailloch
And his opponent was running Kreoss”
-Fire of Salvation
Vessel of Judgement
Max Bastions
Max Errants + UA
Min Vengers
Nicia
Rhupert
Covenant of Menoth
Vilmon
Paladin

I deployed Kell, IFP and Riflemen on the left flank and put Devastator, Torch and my Gun Tank on the right flank with Strakhov, Drakhun and the Dog in the middle. I flubbed up a little by putting torch on the outside instead of Devastator so I couldn’t get first turn superiority on Torch.

He deployed Nicia and the Errants opposite of the IFP. Rhupert, the Vessel, Fire of Salvation and Kreoss center, and he overloaded his left flank with Bastions, Vengers, Vilmon and the Paladin.

I went first, Strakhov occulated the IFP and put sentry on the gun tank and moved up. Devastator and Drakhun ran to the center with drakhun hugging the forest line, Torch ran up to the right zone, Gun Carriage trampled and shot into the errants and missed. IFP ran up stealthed to the left zone and the riflemen right behind them and kell took up position by a building so he could cover the left zone.

My buddy starts with giving the errants tough with rhuphert, and then sends his errants forward, most of them in the forest to my dismay. he spread them out and one ended up on the other side of the forest right in sights of my counter charging Drakhun. one down. another one got in sight of my sentried Gun Tank and I took him down too. Nicia high tailed it to the opposite side of the building Kell was hugging. The Vessel moved a little and shot my Drakhun, boosting damage and hitting him for 8, not good. Bastions ran up a little, Fire of Salvation ran up a little, and the vengers ran up to get into position and one got into melee range of my Drakhun. Vilmon and the paladin ran up too. Kreoss just meandered up, cast sancrosanct on the errants and gave the vengers +2 ARM and that was his turn.

I have pictures from here on out:

unnamedfirst

From here, I give a focus to devastator and 2 to torch. Devastator runs again to the south edge of the forest.Strakhov puts superiority on Torch and I charge devastator and do no damage, then feat catching most of the errants but nothing else. Gun Tank charges the center venger, misses on the hooves. The left cannon shoots the bastions and hits them, centering a nice rough terrain pie plate on them but did little damage, the right one was able to angle on Vilmon but missed. Finally my gunner was able to pick off another errant. Torch charged the Venger tieing up the Drakhun and destroyed it, wasting the two extra focus as the other venger was just out of spray 6 range. Now that my Drakhun was freed up but was good as dead next turn, he was able to charge through rough terrain for the 5″ and get in range to smack a bastion. He did such amazing damage my opponent thought it prudent to just kill him and not spread the damage. This gave Fire of Salvation his holy vengeance.

Next up was Kell Bailoch, who tried freeing up some charge lanes on an errant sitting in the zone. First shot hit and would of killed the errant but the vessel used doors of judgement and came straight for kell but was JUST out of stealth range. luckily that means sancrosanct didn’t go off and kell got his second shot, but the second errant toughed it. Next were the IFP. I mini-feated and charged away with the help of Strakhov. I had a few go into the forest to the errants I could see, but my main goal was the UA, if I could take him down then they’d lose pathfinder and be stuck in the forest. Well over the course of the charge he made about 6 tough rolls 3 with his UA alone. when I finally did kill him he just sac’ed another grunt. I also did get a few hits on the book and was overall able to swing a few of my pikemen around to jam the left zone, so even though it was under crappy circumstances it did work as you can tell from the pictures. Since nothing was engaging the UA and it was knocked down I moved my riflemen with zephyr so they could get the aiming bonus and took a few more shots at the UA getting him to sac a few more grunts.

I got two pikemen to get into melee with fire of salvation, but only one was in command range unfortunately. so on the start of his turn he went after the drakhun with his holy vengeance, and I only got 1 free strike. Luckily for me I rolled double 5s, CRIT KNOCKDOWN! so my drakhun was saved for another few minutes. he goes, drops sancrosanct and gives 3 focus to FoS which one was used to shake knockdown. The Vessel goes first and moves up to use eruption of faith to push those IFP into the forest. Rhupert moves behind the vessel and gives the bastions pathfinder. Kreoss moves up and slays my drakhun and feats, catching Torch and the battle engine. Fire of Salvation charges Torch, and I say what the hell I counter charge, hit, and roll trip 6s for damage (not a good day for the FoS) taking out it’s left fist. It still does considerable damage to torch though. Bastions are next and they charge/run into torch and the gun tank, killing the tank and really crippling torch. The vengers charge and finish it off. Vilmon runs for the left zone and paladin stays in the right and impervious walls. Nicia move back and stabs one rifleman to death, shoots another, and then sprints to engage the one in the back. Errants kill off a pikeman and rifleman. he scores a point.Back to my turn. one focus to devastator I keep the rest. first and foremost I run devastator right into the right zone on top of Torch’s wreckage to prevent further scoring. Next my pikemen charge/run mostly at the vessel, and unfortunately did very little damage to it. The Riflemen took aiming bonus again and zephyred so that back one wouldn’t take a free strike and I was able to take out the errant UA in range leaving the Covenant to 1 life. Kell move withing stealth range and shot Nicia in the back killing her. Strakhov activated, cast overrun and moved into position for his riot gun. got two attack and boosted both, first killing the covenant, which allowed me to move into the zone, and the second offed the errant standard. The dog ran into the zone with me and that gave me a domination.unnamed2nd

Now here’s where my opponent’s inexperience showed. He loaded up FoS on focus and off he went. Rhupert gave Bastions Pathfinder, and they ran for the other zone, mostly in the forest. FoS moved into the forest and took a few swings at devastator doing a little bit of damage. the vengers moved back a little waiting for me to uncrack my shell I guess. Vilmon made an advance and went into impervious wall stance to just outside of the left zone, and the lone errant ran in my zone to prevent my scoring. The Vessel made a full advance into the right zone and within 2″ of my devastator, taking a ton of damage from free strikes. He attempted to eruption of faith my devastator out of the zone for the domination. it was tricky because he had 2 life left on the vassal and the d3 came to 1 damage, so he pushed me 4″ inches or it would had been if I wasn’t on torch’s wreckage. He was furious but devastator was still toeing the zone. Kreoss moved into the zone and that was the turn.

Back to my turn, devastator was pushed to just within my control area so I gave him another focus and went to work. first and foremost my IFP charge again, mostly at the bastions but two got to rhupert and downed him, effectively leaving his bastions stranded in the forest. I crit knockdown the bastion closest to the zone and rough him up good. The riflemen get into position with valachev. Valachev is lined up perfectly so his spray 8 will get the lone errant, vilmon and the bastion. I miss the errant and vilmon but do some more damage to the bastion. I realize my mistake with valachev as he’s blocking Strakhov’s charge lane to Vilmon. Two of my riflemen shoot Valachev dead for the good of the motherland and the rest shoot one at a time at the downed but engaged bastion enough to kill it. Next up Kell takes aim to down the lone errant but misses Vilmon. Strakhovcharges vilmon, boosts to hit and connects, and kills him with the trench knife before moving back into the zone. Devastator uses his focus to run around the zone bulldozing things and that’s my turn.

unnamed3rd

up to 4 points now.

his last turn consists of running everything he can towards the other zone, the only things that got close was a venger who toed the zone, I countercharged the second venger that was right behind him and killed it, but Kreoss Sancrosancted it so my dog was knocked down.

Back to my turn. Kell aims and takes two shots at it dealing one damage, then my riflemen come around to do a massive CRA on it, but I roll snake eyes for damage. I decided for the ultimate humiliation and strakhov turned around……………….and cast battering ram to push him out of the zone for the win!

unnamed4th

For some reason Strakhov is the caster I just keep thinking has phenomenal potential. Here is what I have been thinking and is somewhat of a brain dump so please forgive the (likely) fractured and rambling nature of this post.
 
Once more I have to thank OrsusSmash on the Muse forums for getting me to think a bit deeper about our casters.
 
 
Image
And yeah, he looks pretty bad ass which is reason enough to want to use him. 
 
Strakhov has great movement options both personally and for his force, both through feat as well as overrun and superiority and, in a somewhat limited fashion, battering ram (you could charge or overrun at an angle and push something into a better charge lane or something for instance). This is a game where speed really matters, and he brings it to khador.
 
Another recent epiphany to me and my group is that PP does a pretty fantastic job of using the background to inform their rules design. Lately I have been just kind of “going with it” and looking at the fluff of a model and seeing how that informs their play on the battlefield. Strakhov’s background is all hit and fade and deception, from a faction that doesn’t really do that. At first glance it would seem that he doesn’t have the pieces to support this style, but he kind of does – especially if you look at the other aspect of him – he is an elite special forces kind of guy. For that sort of thing, you should bring the A-Team, we all know their names, they are definitely the special characters.
 
 
What this means for practical tourney play is that your off list should definitely be one that either doesn’t need many characters at all, like Irusk1 or one with a definite skew for something that Strakhov would struggle even more with like maybe Vlad3 or Butcher1.
 
If we embrace this philosophy and just open up all kinds of shenanigans we can look at the choices available and what would get the most benefit. First there is the obvious “Strakhov Flow Chart” that is both beloved and hated, accurate and inaccurate, that ensures short games one way or another.
 
Image
 
Now beyond that silliness this background,for ‘jacks, means things like Beast09 with hyperaggressive and reach as well as a fantastic imprint which makes him a bit more focus efficient than otherwise he might be. Torch also looks pretty good behind able to overrun and set a caster on fire is a legit threat or just charge and yoyo back also works well. Sustained attack at PS18 also gives him a bit more focus efficiency in that you don’t have to worry about hitting after the first. As an aside, I am going to have to try Torch with vlad3 – 9 inch charge, 2 side steps and then auto fire 6″ spray seems pretty brutal. The fact that he has both an extra mat and rat  helps a tiny bit (though in all honesty you will likely still boost to hit when it matters). Even Black Ivan is interesting – def14 and Dodge (possibly def 16 to range with a ternion cloud) mean that hitting him is far from certain and you can dodge to some interesting angles for the following turn – though at this point I am going to not include him,  I am going to consider him further.
 
He doesn’t really have the focus to run two jacks, but both of the jacks don’t need to be running at full efficiency all the time. A couple of ways to improve on this is to include Sylys and the Koldun lord. This means dropping the war dog, but it seems that if you put Strakhov way up the field the dog just gets killed fast anyway, and the signs and portents is nice for both battering ram and the rift that you will only ever cast in the direst of straits. You will likely leave sylys behind but the fact that he only needs to be within 9″ for the upkeep and range booster ability make him workable. Beast’s imprint mean that even with a single focus, combined with reach means he can do a number on most living warrior models regardless of their defense (superiority puts him at mat9). Also, he can run for free during the early game making it easier to cast the upkeeps.
 
The Koldun lord will likely just power boost, but he might try and pull off battle wizard on occasion – also, ice cage can help your other models hit – particularly when looking at a higher def beast or caster. While the obvious default for battle wizard is the spray, throwing an ice cage further up the field can be good. Also if something is disrupted or has overrun out of Strakhov’s control area, you can use the battle wizard action to give it a focus point. Situational, but sometimes that is exactly what you need.
 
Image
 
This makes me look at the Greylord ternion. They get the same battle wizard as the koldun lord, with mostly the same spells, though throwing a cloud further up field could be pretty sweet, especially to possibly block a charge lane – a solo or other single model could be in position ahead of time to receive that cloud. Obviously it could be dangerous to depend on it, but it is still an option work considering. It is seeming like that is Strakhov’s niche – having lots of options and potential.
 
The majority of our units are fairly self sufficient – at least enough so to all be considered viable with strakhov. Great Bears with occultation and threat of feat could make my opponent think twice about their positioning, Ayanna and Holt bring the ever popular Kiss of Lyliss to increase damage even further, and since I am looking at playing a distance game, the inclusion of Valachev is intriguing for that extra 3″ range of harm (though admittedly he would likely be the first to go when it came to cutting points). It is also another magical spray to help against jammers.
 
Now it is time to look at the “mainstay” unit. As I said above, many of our choices are fairly self sufficient. Keeping in mind the idea of an elite unit, I am going to choose the Iron Fang pikemen with the Black Dragon UA. My reasoning for this is that they are another good target for stealth, they are fearless which is always a plus and the thing that really did it for me, was their precision ability. This lets them not necessarily need to kill a jack in order to minimize it’s effectiveness. Popping out the cortex really hurts jacks. You can take the spirit out on a beast, but the healing mechanic means that it isn’t as big of a deal, though it does force a potential order of activation issue as well as taking fury from the caster.
 
This leaves 8 more points for a standard 50 point list and I am not sure where to go with this. The iron fang kovnik lets me get up the field quicker in shield wall which is nice, plus is an extra weapon master attack. I could do him and 2 eliminators, or him and a unit of doom reavers, or a unit of doom reavers with UA. Or Gorman and a couple of something else’s, etc. I am really open on that and will likely just pick something randomly and see how it goes and then make adjustments from there. I think the first round will be Eyriss2, Gorman, and a unit of eliminators just to really do the A-Team thing.
 
Please feel free to point out any flaws to my thinking.
 
Image
 
Oh yeah, he is probably gonna lose this fight, but it is a cool picture.

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.  

Image

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.

Image

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.

Image

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.

Image
(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!