Posts Tagged ‘tactics’

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.
 
 
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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.
 
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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.
 
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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.
 
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Oh yeah, he is probably gonna lose this fight, but it is a cool picture.

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.

We are looking at one of the classic sr2013 scenarios today – Close Quarters. Close quarters is a a staple scenario for tournament play and is a great scenario for pickup games against a new opponent. It doesn’t require any zones nor does it have interactable objectives – just two 40mm flags.

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Close Quarters is one of only two scenarios that have neither zones nor objectives. The table setup for this one looks like this:

Scenario3 Deployment

As mentioned in the previous post on the Supply and Demand scenario one of the first things you want to look at when you see a scenario are the scenario win conditions. In a 2 (or more) caster tourney, the win conditions will often inform your choice of caster almost as much as your opponent’s force.

Look for things like hills, walls, forests, and other defensive options within 4″ of a flag (since that is the range to contest). Also you might want to look at the approach to the flags – if you are playing melee heavy with few pathfinder options you might prefer to take the clearer side to get you across the table quicker since you know you aren’t going to have to go much further than the center line for most games. Conversely, if you are a shooting force you might want to look at fire lanes and where you want to end up on turn 2 in order to give you maximum coverage. As always, remember that the player going second will have the first opportunity to score the flags and plan accordingly.

Let’s look at the specific rules for this scenario now:

Scenario3 Rules

Like the previous  scenario this one also has the Kill Box artifice. Basically, this means if you end your turn with your caster completely within 14″ of ANY table edge that your opponent immediately gets 2 Control Points. Sometimes it can be worth it to give up 2 points to save your caster, but make sure if you do that it is a conscious decision and not a game changing accident. It is also worth noting that, unlike CPs gained via control or domination of flags/objectives that Kill Box is only scored once per round.

This scenario uses “flags”. Let’s take a look at what the means in sr2013:

Flag (40 mm base): All flags are models with the following qualities: Incorporeal, stationary, immune to all game effects. They do not activate and cannot be targeted, damaged, moved, placed, or removed from play.

A player controls a flag if he owns one or more models that are not immobile, fleeing, wild, or inert B2B with a flag that an opponent does not contest. There are no additional requirements for solos, warjacks, or warbeasts.

If the model B2B with the flag is a member of a unit, the unit must contain 50% or more of its starting number (rounding up) and all those remaining models must also be within 4 ̋ of the flag. 

So controlling a flag with a full unit can be problematic as the entire group must be within 4″ of the flag AND be at or above 50% of the starting size. Solos and small units are good choices for controlling a flag, but aren’t typically great at clearing out contesting models which still having one in base to base with the flag. Ranged solos are a decent option for controlling once the area is cleared out as they will still be able to influence the game while scoring on a flag. Solos also tend to be kind of quick and you can often get a surprise control by running the solo to claim the flag if it the zone is cleared or just unmanned – keep that in mind as you are moving your solo on the flank – it is worth setting it up for a turn or two down the road. The down side of using a solo for this is that they tend to be much more fragile.

A warbeast or warjack is also a decent idea for controlling an enemy flag since they are usually a bit more resilient, but often your opponent will be able to see this coming and will direct more energy to killing a warbeast or warjack.

To dominate the flag a caster needs to be in base to base with it and no enemy models (other than other casters) within 4″. Since flags are models, another model cannot end their movement on it. This really helps mitigate the threat of assault from non-reach troopers since the number of models that can end up in melee with them is reduced by 40mm worth of space. The flag doesn’t block LOS and is incorporeal so it doesn’t do anything vs. shooting, and it also means that models can move completely through it and still attack you as long as your model doesn’t leave their melee range before they move through it. This is an odd interaction of charging that is worth knowing. Once a charging model has its target in melee in must keep it in melee until the end of the charge. In a nutshell, what that means is since LOS is typically the front arc a model can only move until the middle of their base is at the point furthest from its initial charge. Models always move directly forward on a charge. If there isn’t room to place their base in that location due to the flag the charge is likely a fail.

This scenario is a staple for a reason. It is a lot of fun to play and the combination of Kill Box, the ability to dominate one’s own flag for control points, and the central-ish location of the 2 flags typically mean there will be a big mashup in the middle. This is one of the scenarios that it really pays to think of the long game in. Once you get the number of models down dominating the zone gets pretty powerful and since enemy casters are unable to contest and it is possible to score on both flags getting an actual model advantage is extremely valuable.

As always, thanks for reading, I hope it has been useful, and feel free to add any other tips or corrections to the comments!

 

 

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.

One of the really great benefits of the journeyman league from Privateer Press is that it forces the basics. I am fairly new to the Mark 2 version of the game but I did play for a while way back in Mark 1 so it isn’t something that I felt compelled to do to learn the game. That being said, I really wanted to chance to slow grow this army and learn how to play it well.

One of the things I learned back in another life as a corporate trainer was how much more one learned when writing about a subject. I thought this would be a fun way to start putting down my in-game observations to share what I have learned and, hopefully, in writing them out learn a bit more. I was also curious how many times I could write “learn” in a sentence.  And obviously, if any readers have anything to share that would be great 🙂

Since this is my first analysis it might be a bit rough and disjointed but hopefully later on it will be a bit better.

Lord Carver, The Bringer of Most Massive Destruction (esquire the third) is the warlock in the officially recommended battle box for the Thornfall Alliance.

Carver’s stats are pretty decent but nothing great. His defense is a bit on the low side for a warlock but his armor is a tiny bit higher. He is faster than most of his army and with the reach on his weapon his threat range is shy of his control area which means you should never fail a charge unwillingly even with mobility (more on that later).

His weapons are both pretty impressive, however. His melee weapon, Hand of God (or HoG if you want to have fun with pork flavored puns), has a hefty power+strength of 15 and reach in addition to the standard magic that all casters have. This combined p+s is enough that he can reliably kill pretty much any warriors and most cavalry in the game without breaking a sweat. He’ll hit a def. 14 on an average roll. The downside to his melee attack is that it is only a single attack. This combined with his mediocre fury stat of 6 means that he won’t be able to go on a rampage and decimate units of warriors or even a heavy warjack/beast once you figure in the necessity of boosting to hit. If only he had thresher!

If he is in danger of being swamped it is probably better for him to shoot with his sawed-off scattergun. This gun is a non-magic 6″ spray. The power on it is a decent, but not amazing, 12 which means you should be able to deal with lighter warrior models as long as their def isn’t too high. His rat is just okay. Where the gun gets really good is when you notice it has a rate of fire of 2. That is right, he can do 2 str 12 sprays per turn which can really clear out infantry that are trying to jam him. Additionally, if you need a bit extra stopping power, you can fire both barrels and trade that rate of fire for +4 to the damage result as a *attack.

Next up let’s take a look at his spell list. He has 4 spells on his list and as a warlock can also use the animi of the war beasts in his battle group – I might mention the use of an animus, but they will be discussed in greater detail in my Thoughts On… that model.

Batten Down the Hatches – This spell will take up fully half of his fury and in most cases you will be casting it without batten an eye. See what I did there? Seriously, this spell increases the armor of models in your battlegroup (including Carver himself) at the cost of a loss to defense. Additionally it makes you immune to knockdown so I guess you might say that it gives you a better defense than you would have if you were knocked down. It isn’t an auto-cast however. You need to be particularly aware of units in your opponents army that ignore these bonuses as in most cases they will only ignore the bonus but not the penalty. Also, bear in mind that war beasts have a decent defense and the farrow beasts have a decent armor to begin with. There might be times when the only threat to you is a bunch of infantry that are going to be doing dice -4 or -5 without the buff and only hitting on a 7. In that case, you might be better off taking a couple of minor hits and hopefully getting a couple of misses on you. I haven’t actually run the math on this, by the way. If you are good at it, I would be curious what your results are. Immune to knockdown is absolutely brutal against those models whose feat is a knockdown effect. This also helps out against things like headbutts and throws. If you felt like it you could put up batten down the hatches and then have Brine double handed throw the warhog at something to knock it down. The war hog would still have to forfeit his movement but could then pound on whatever was knocked down. It is pretty risky though because you could go out of Carver’s control area and lose the effect from Batten Down the Hatches. Overall it is a great spell though and one you will use a whole lot. It isn’t an upkeep spell so you need to plan on paying the full cost every turn for it. Conversely, since it isn’t an upkeep it can’t be dispelled.

Mobility – Another great spell. As the name implies this spell greatly improves your mobility. Like Batten Down the Hatches Carver casts this spell on himself and it is not an upkeep. This is huge because that means you can stack the effects giving you both more resilient and faster war beasts which are always a good thing. Mobility increases the speed of battlegroup models as well as giving them pathfinder. Since it is a speed bonus it means that your run doubles the bonus rather than adding it straight at the end. Pathfinder is a beautiful thing as well since having our slow war beasts get stuck in terrain is painful. It also allows you to charge over linear obstacles or through forests meaning you can use them for a defense bonus to help offset the penalty from Batten Down the Hatches or give you the option of not casting it for a turn and trusting on a higher defense to protect you. Also it combines well with Rift in giving you more options in activation order as you don’t have to worry about locking your own models down. It won’t leave you much fury left over but flexibility and options are good.

Quagmire – This is a really interesting upkeep spell. It gives enemy models in base to base contact with the unit/model a defense modifier of -2 while also preventing them from moving other than to change facing. The obvious use is to prevent things from trampling over a unit of brigands or locking models in place for a turn since you can’t usually move after doing your combat action. This can be very useful in scenario play for keeping a model out of a control zone. Also the -2 is what I call a “soft boost”. What I mean by that is that it isn’t quite as good on average as a normal boost but still helps break the curve. This soft boost also makes war beasts a good target. Anything that helps your war hog (or Carver himself in a pinch) get more hits can only be a good thing allowing you to save those forces for extra attacks. If Carver were a fury 7 caster I would advocate casting it on turn 1 and upkeeping it for the rest of the game. As it is, there are so many turns in which you will want to cast Batten Down the Hatches and Mobility you will probably be better off having that emergency transfer for whatever sneaky thing you missed that your opponent is about to do to you.

Rift – This is a decent power 8″ aoe spell. The aoe on it is 4″ which is pretty sweet on its own but it also remains in play through your opponents turn as rough terrain. If they are lacking on pathfinder this can be a huge inconvenience and go a long way to making sure that your hogs are the ones doing the charging. Bonegrinders give you an extra 2″ range helping to offset the short range of the spell. It is fairly expensive, but you can still use that and pathfinder and have that emergency fury I advocate which helps with some of the order of activation issues that could come up.

This brings us to his feat – “Hog Heaven”. This feat gives all farrow models in his control area an dice of damage and Overtake. It is important to remember that it is only farrow models meaning that those other support solos like Gudrun the Wanderer and Saxon Orrick will not benefit from his feat. Also it is only while in his control area so it is possible to overtake out of his control area and lose the overtake on future attacks and the extra dice worth of damage. It is a pretty straight forward feat which I like to use pretty early in order to give myself an advantage on big models by taking out opponent jacks/beasts.

I made a mistake in dismissing him as a boring caster when I first read him over. Lord Carver, BMMD esq III can be played in a straightforward manner as a beat-stick but he also has some tools which enable you to play him a bit more patiently and tricky than it would seem at first glance especially by blocking off movement with rift and quagmire. A great thing to keep in mind is that he is a bandit king and play him appropriately. He is not going to stand up in melee to the likes of the Butcher but he has the shenanigans to ensure that he doesn’t have to.