Posts Tagged ‘vlad2’

Hi there, this is going to be a little bit different than most of my battle reports. We were having a discussion on the Privateer Press Forums about what real world military tactical ideas could be brought in game. One of the things I (among others) mentioned was the concept of the OODA loop. There is a lot out there written on this concept and I would encourage you to google it and read up a bit more about it. Let me also stress that this is my own personal way of doing it and how I have adapted it to Warmachine specifically.

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Observe – Unfolding circumstance, outside information, unfolding interaction with environment.

Orient – This is where you process it based on your background, heritage, training, etc. 

Decide – This is the plan you come up with based on the information gained via observation and your “native advantages” by faction.

Act – Execute the plan – but be prepared to re-evaluate it based on new information gained.

It is also worth mentioning that as a loop, from both decide and act you go back to observe.

In a nutshell, it is a repeating thing you do to get data, analyze it, decide what to do and then do it. The idea is that you try and do all that quicker than your opponent. Now that we’ve covered them generally, let’s break them down a bit more specifically for as it pertains to Warmachine:

This is what a general pregame OODA might look like:

Observe – What does the table look like? Are there terrain pieces that will hurt your more than your opponent? For the scenario, does one side of the table favor one player? Outside information is something like what faction they are playing and what caster. For instance you probably want to play quite differently vs. a Vayl2 than you do against Deneghra1. Knowing Bane Knights have reach and vengeance should alter your plan on how to deal with them, etc.

Orient – What does your army do well? This is depend on build as well as faction. In Khador, for instance, we have pretty fantastic infantry and many of our lists will try to leverage that. We also tend a bit more toward melee. There are some variances even in faction, but you built your list, you should know what it does well and where it struggles.

Decide – How are you going to win? Ideally you will have a plan for that before you have deployed a single model. Once that is decided you start deploying. Whether you are going first or second would also have an affect on how you deploy. Deploying second allows you to Orient your units against your opponents in order to give favorable match ups. If you are going first, you need to pay particular attention to your own plan and try and guess what your opponent will do (from that outside information thing). 

Act – By now, you should know where you want to deploy give your observations and orientation so execute it. Since most tourney style games (and even many casual games) have some kind of time limit even if it is just the store closing time, it is in your benefit to deploy as quickly as possible. It is actually possible to gain an advantage this early in the game with Death Clock since deployment is on the clock. Don’t rush, but execute your plan swiftly.  As an aside, if you are playing in a timed tourney type environment there is definite value in practicing your deployment by yourself. Come up with some standard deployments by scenario and practice them. The idea isn’t so much to be completely rigid, as to allow you to save some brainpower for later as the game develops.

Okay, so now that we have had a broad overview, as well as a bit more focused Warmachine example, I am going to give a specific example of how I used it in the game I played last night. 

I brought the following Vlad2 list:

Vladimir Tzepesci, The Dark Champion – WJ: +5
– Drago – PC: 8
Fenris – PC: 5
Koldun Lord – PC: 2
Iron Fang Kovnik – PC: 2
Man-O-War Drakhun – PC: 4
Alexia, Mistress of the Witchfire – PC: 4
Iron Fang Kovnik – PC: 2
Manhunter – PC: 2
Manhunter – PC: 2
Greylord Ternion – Leader & 2 Grunts: 4
Iron Fang Pikemen – Leader & 9 Grunts: 8
– Black Dragon Officer & Standard – PC: 2
Kayazy Eliminators – Leader & Grunt: 3
Kayazy Eliminators – Leader & Grunt: 3
Widowmakers – Leader & 3 Grunts: 4

Taking a look at this through OODA eyes in Orienting myself to my army I see that I have pretty heavy infantry presence. Given Transference and Vlad2’s feat that is unsurprising. I also skew melee although I do have some decent sprays and the always awesome widowmakers. I am a bit light on the pathfinder although I do have some – enough to keep me from being completely screwed over by terrain but not enough to be nonchalant about it. I do have a high amount of fearless so I can be reasonably sure that my troops will do what I want them to do, and the addition of the high leadership commander makes me feel pretty safe. Vlad2 is fairly resilient – especially if the opponent just tries to pepper him to death as Might of Kings will improve his stat line (as an aside, I did screw up a bit – I thought it would add armor, but it doesn’t – so that was an OODA fail on my part). Hand of Fate will help me deal with higher def, and my feat is just generally a good one for turning man into superman for a turn which has great offensive and defensive potential. Ideally, I will now make my determinations during the game by looking through the lens of the list I am playing.

I wasn’t sure what my opponent was going to play so I had a second list, but I was never actually going to play it (we usually bring 2 lists tourney style, but it is actually a pretty casual meta – it just keeps things easy). Turns out the always excellent Dave Z was my opponent for the night and he brought Ossrum and McBain. He ended up going with Ossrum so we would both have fully painted armies. His list looked like:

General Ossrum – WJ: +5
– Ghordson Earthbreaker – PC: 19
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution – PC: 3
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist – PC: 2
Master Gunner Dougal MacNaile – PC: 2
Thor Steinhammer – PC: 2
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages – Leader & 5 Grunts: 6
– Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer – Officer 2
Herne & Jonne – Herne and Jonne: 3
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt – Lady Aiyanna & Master Holt: 4
Horgenhold Forge Guard – Leader & 9 Grunts: 8
Tactical Arcanist Corps – Leader & 2 Grunts: 4

Knowing my list – the orientation if you will – I was able to look at his list and already get an idea for what he wanted to do. I have only played against Ossrum once before so wasn’t 100% sure on him (but that is easily remedied by asking opponent for card or looking in War Room), but I was able to draw on outside knowledge of many of his units and filter them through my orientation. I also want to add, that most of us do this somewhat subconsciously anyway but I am going through the process here but feel free to skip the next couple of paragraphs. 

Eyriss can strip upkeeps which means I want to be a bit circumspect with Hand of Fate – I’ll often drop it on the spraying units, but they are too easy of a target for her. I am not too worried about Vlad’s two personal upkeeps because I am probably never going to be shot by her. I just need to make sure and keep that in mind. Gorman is always a threat thanks to black oil – but in this case since I have so many infantry it is less of a threat than normal so I can ignore him a bit more than if, say, I was playing with conquest. Next up Dougal – he was going to be a pain and also incredibly difficult to deal with – I might take a shot at him and will certainly threaten with my eliminators but I pretty much just need to accept that 3-4 round he will be largely untouchable thanks to the earthbreaker. Same with Thor. Speaking of the earth breaker – I haven’t played against it yet, but I know it has pretty legit shooting and with Ossrum giving snipe and speed bonus on feat turn it can come from downtown. Also I know I get neither cover nor elevation adding to my defense. I will need to be careful and maybe camp a bit more than I normally would.

The gun mages offer a different threat – I am not really worried about them with my Iron Fangs, but their ability to ignore stealth and concealment is a big deal for my eliminators and widowmakers – I might need to spend a turn redeploying to get away from them depending on who deploys first. Herne and Jonne all about the blasts and I have to respect that with fire for effect from Ossrum especially for the eliminators. Overall fairly low threat range and with black dragons I am not too worried. Ayanna and Holt are always high priority since Kiss is such a big deal giving that effect +2 pow to all the blasts is something I don’t want to let get out of hand. High priority – but I have much experience dealing with them and eliminators are usually pretty good at that, even with a run to engage. Forge guard hit hard, but widowmakers definitely trump them and since I get to advance deploy across from them, they are going to be my primary widowmaker target. TAC are largely irrelevant defensively in this matchup since I can wind blast the clouds out of the way but I do have to worry about their fire getting on the black dragons. Not too worried though.

Okay so we randomized the scenario and came up with Process of Elimination which is basically two zones each with an objective in the middle. Since the table was setup before we generated the scenario we just put the zones in place. Dave won the roll to go first and chose the side he wanted and I was to go first. With this scenario, that meant that I really wouldn’t be able to score until top of turn 3 since I doubted he would destroy the objective in a zone I was in and then leave it empty. However, since I was going first I got to develop my plan which was basically to contest the one on my left, and use the forest on the one to the right to protect me, I planned on getting Vlad over there to dominate eventually. One other thing to consider here is that this scenario does have killbox which means I will be up a bit closer than I would otherwise like to so I should hold on to a couple more focus than normal. I would also be using that forest as a waypoint for moving Fenris over – the plan was to use him to try and tie up as many gunmages as possible. If they fail an abomination check that is a bonus, but mostly I just want to tie them up back as far as I can. I need to keep the eliminators away from Fenris so I don’t make myself take an abomination check, but the black dragons are fearless as is the drakhun so I can do whatever with them. I plan on using the wrecked building on my left to help my eliminators get into position and the widowmakers will use it for concealment and fall back as the hammer dwarfs approach. I am definitely shooting for a scenario victory in this game, which means I should be able to hold feat back as threat for a bit longer. The black dragons would try and jam the earth breaker and push stuff out of the zone I wanted.

With all of that in mind, this is what the table looked like after deployment (though before redeploy – the widowmakers went into the forest on the left and the manhunters behind the one on the right – the brown things are hills):

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So now that I have an overall plan it is time to put it into action. Most of what I do works toward that end for the first two turns (they are kind of mixed together below). The drakhun runs forward the wall, not that it will do much protection, but he blocks some people off, manhunters and fenris move up behind the forest (I made a mistake here, I could have put fenris further over to the side of it than I did, I was overly cautious and it would come back to haunt me – I didn’t realize it at the time, but if I had been more Observant I would have caught it). Vlad put up transference and a Wind Blast as far back as he could – if Ossrum feated and the earth breaker moved forward the full distance it would end up in the template and get -3 rat. I am still not sure if I would have been better off camping those 2 – it is pretty much a judgment call here that I am sure a math junkie could make.

In return Ossrum puts snipe on the earth breaker and fire for effect on herne and jonne. The earth breaker drops some rough terrain templates and doesn’t do much else with shooting. 

Fenris runs around the forest and only manages to engage 1 – as mentioned above, I should have been able to engage 3. He gets knocked off his horse but survives, he then gets black oiled, but that is fine for me. The manhunters run through the woods but the female one is a bit short and gets shot to death for her trouble. 

Vlad gets shot a lot by the earth breaker and is left on 7 wounds and knocked down. I considered feating on turn 2 but then decided to do turn 3 instead since I wouldn’t really get much out of it.

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This is his view, it looks cool that is the only reason this is here. I do need to hit those cloaks with a wash at some point.

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Turn 3 is time to start putting the initial plan into action. Since the earth breaker is just to the left of center I decide to make a go for the first part of the plan, which is to stick the colossal in place, destroy the objective behind the tree and collect some control points. 

Using OODA I observe that the main threats to me controlling the zone are the things on the right side of the table with a black-oiled fenris. He can advance and engage a lot of things that would rather not be engaged, like a TAC member and a few gun mages. The surviving manhunt kills Jonne and ties up Herne. Also, Ossrum had feated bumping the colossal’s armor up where I had no real chance to do anything. Drago charged and easily killed the objective, and as the only model in the zone controlled it.

 

 

The eliminators continue to be annoying. I make kind of a big mistake here by not dropping the wind blast when I activate Vlad2 and feat but luckily I have a couple of extra focus from taking damage last turn. I shake the knockdown out of habit, which is another sloppy play mistake – it was unnecessary since I was just going to be staying where I was anyway – though in my defense I did consider moving forward to give more love to the manhunter. I still needed to camp on as much as possible so just kept up Transference and dropped everything else.

I handed out 3 feat tokens to IFP and the 4th to the Kovnik. The black dragons charged and ran to surround the colossal and didn’t do much but did get him in a nice position. The IFK ran the full 18 inches to lock stuff in the back and at this point I felt fairly certain I had the game – unfortunately I only had 3 minutes left on my death clock! Dave tried to fight back but he was pretty well locked into place giving me another control point on his turn, which put me at 3. On my turn I just ran Vlad over to the zone and dominated it for the win. 

 

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Overall, I ended up getting the win condition I had intended and just had to do minor adjustments throughout. Reviewing the OODA throughout (and admittedly it was more in the front of my mind than usual due to the conversation), really helped me to seal the deal and feel pretty well in control the entire game.

I hope this helped as a way to integrate the idea of OODA and perhaps a slightly different way to think about your games and help you to get more out it.

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The final game put me up against the Motherland once more. And once more Butcher3 would be on the table, just not commanded by me. Instead I was faced up against iWARGAME, from the awesome iWARGAME blog, at http://iwargame.wordpress.com – if you haven’t checked it out, you should.

Since I was locked out of Butcher3 I took this Vlad2 list:

Vladimir Tzepesci, The Dark Champion – WJ: +5
– Sylys Wyshnalyrr, The Seeker – PC: 2
– Drago – PC: 8

Doom Reavers – Leader & 5 Grunts: 6
– Greylord Escort – Greylord Escort 2
Greylord Outriders – Leader & 4 Grunts: 9
Greylord Ternion – Leader & 2 Grunts: 4
Iron Fang Pikemen – Leader & 9 Grunts: 8
– Black Dragon Officer & Standard – PC: 2
Iron Fang Uhlans – Leader & 4 Grunts: 11
Kayazy Eliminators – Leader & Grunt: 3

I’ve been talking with Lemming Stampede quite a bit lately about the joys of Vlad2 and have been hankering to take him for a spin. In fact, if I hadn’t managed to get my greedy mitts on Butcher3 I probably would have rocked The Dark Champion for the whole day.

You can definitely tell that I am a Khador player because I was a bit concerned with the low model count of this army (34) but I felt that everything in this list is pretty solid and capable of punching above their weight, even without Vlad2s feat – the sprays would help mitigate any jamming or horde-style armies (as opposed to Hordes armies).

iWARGAME’s list was:

Kommander Zoktavir, The Butcher Unleashed – WJ: +4
– War Argus
– Sylys Wyshnalyrr, The Seeker
– Behemoth – PC: 13

Widowmaker Marksman – PC: 2
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios – PC: 3
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist – PC: 2
Kell Bailoch – PC: 2
Saxon Orrik – PC: 2

Doom Reavers – Leader & 5 Grunts: 6
– Greylord Escort – Greylord Escort 2
Iron Fang Pikemen – Leader & 9 Grunts: 8
– Black Dragon Officer & Standard – PC: 2
Kayazy Eliminators – Leader & Grunt: 3
Kayazy Eliminators – Leader & Grunt: 3
Widowmakers – Leader & 3 Grunts: 4

Setup and Early game:

I ended up going second again and once more chose the side I was on because, you know, crutches. I counter deployed my doom reavers across from his widowmakers and WMM (and Eyriss) and a bit under 5″ into my AD zone to be out of the widowmakers range but within a-bomb range when I run. If his widowmakers are anything like mine, they will break. I also deployed the Uhlans on my far right flank with the intent of using them to take out Behemoth if I got a shot or as a quick redeploy and put my eliminators behind them counter to iWARGAME’s with the though of maybe sending them after Kell and Saxon.

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iWARGAME’s first run he pretty much just advanced everything full bore. The WMM  advanced up through the woods like I expected him to and the shot  ended up being short, as planned. Unfortunately this meant that he had a solid ranging shot and the rest of the widowmakers hung back a little bit further. with Eyriss behind them. For my turn, Vlad put Hand of Fate on the outriders, transference on himself and then moved up behind a wall where he basically carved his initials into it and hung out the rest of the game. My doomreavers ran forward – one getting close enough to force an abomination test on the widowmaker marksman, which he failed. I sent a couple out wide to try and jam up his widowmakers and toed in most of the rest of them into the woods. This meant if iWargame wanted to get LOS to shoot at them with the widowmakers they would have to do an abomination check. My IFP ran sideways  and spread out. I didn’t bother with minifeat yet. All of the outriders used Winter’s Wind and advanced just a bit – I was hoping to be out of charge range for half of the eliminators and without two gang bonused attacks I felt pretty decent about them surviving and if he ran to engage to give a gang bonus I could make them stationary which would make clearing them much easier. The ternion put some clouds up just because they had nothing better to do (marked with beads below). I decided to redeploy the uhlans so they just ran behind Vlad to keep their options open.

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The widowmakers moved through the woods to take some shots on my doomreavers but failed the abomination check. The wmm rallied. His doomreavers had crappy rolls and killed maybe one of my doomreavers. Butcher decided to get his hands messy and advanced through the flag.  He cast impending doom and then flashing blade to kill a fair amount of IFP that I had moved too close to the flag as well as a couple of doomreavers. He then energizered back 3″ through the flag and considered feating but realized he was pretty safe so just hung out.  One of his eliminator units charged the outriders, but only one was range to attack. The other ran to give the gang bonus but he failed to kill outrider leaving him on one wound with the combo strike. That model sidestepped out of range of the Winter’s Wind and the other unit just ran but kept their distance from the Outriders. Kell advanced and took a shot but missed due to the high def, as did Saxon.

For my turn I upkept Hand of Fate for free and paid one for Transference. My eliminators charged his and he expected a slap fight, since 9s are kind of hard to pull off. Boosted 9s aren’t so bad, however, and a couple of attacks and sidesteps later both of his eliminator units were down two 1 model each – and the non stationary one was fleeing. The outriders got a bit cocky at this and one missed the stationary one with a spray. The other advanced and did melee attacks and hit but failed to kill. I also killed Kell with the spray and a couple of IFP though the hill provided them with pretty good protection. I then did my light cav move to engage saxon and the stationary eliminator but in her back arc. I know she could just acrobatics away, but at least she couldn’t charge him. My IFP killed a few doomreavers, but one of them made like 3 tough checks. My greylord escort advanced and put a  few points on butcher with the spray (maybe 4?).

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After this I forgot to take pics as I was pretty into the game. Here is the general flow though.

From here Butcher is camping next to his flag grabbing a point every one of his turns. I upkept Transference but dropped Hand of Fate. There was too much in the way for me to feat on the uhlans yet, so instead I send 2 of them in, one charging the butcher and the other basing up behind it for the defensive line buff. I knew that there was no way they would survive and probably should have only sent one in, but I was hoping he would have to spend some effort to kill them both. The front uhlan used tall in the saddle to charge butcher over the war arguses. One of them killed a war argus with an impact and hit butcher for another couple of points with his lance. The other skewered the second war argus, killing it. I figured if I was going to be triggering I wanted to make sure I only did it once.

I moved hand of fate over to the Ternion here as well and they killed some IFP finished off the doomreaver UA and then the  remaining doomreavers. Our IFP mingled it up and the game started to settle into a grind. Butcher cleared out the front uhlan with his vengeance attack (ouch – I was hoping he would at least have to use his activation for that) and then the other with his activation.

I was up on time by about 13 minutes but iWARGAME was getting a control point on each of his turns as butcher cleared out any contesting models pretty easily but I was weeding out the models in the way. I forgot about Gorman and he was able to get a black oil onto my uhlans pushing back the feat for another turn. The ternion killed him with a spray and the following turn he ran the wardog and Eyriss to block the uhlans charge lane. I had to minimize any risk of failure so on my turn I upkept Hand of Fate for free, upkept Transference. The ternion advanced and with the HOF sprays managed to clear the charge lane. I activated Vlad and popped my feat on the uhlans. I declared the charge on butcher (by this time he had about 2 minutes left – not much but enough to clear a flag and score his 5th and winning CP if necessary). I had 4 focus on Vlad and so used transference to boost the uhlans’ attack rolls. Yes, I only needed 3 and was rolling 3 and dropping the low, but it was that important and if this assassination failed the game was over anyway. The first uhlan hit and only rolled an 8 after dropping the low so I only did 3. I was pretty worried now. The next was an average roll of 10 after dropping doing another 5, leaving him with 6 or 7 which meant I needed an above average roll. Luckily, I got a 17 and managed to just barely save the game.

I just realized that I didn’t mention it but Behemoth was dropping 2 bombards every turn – he took out one of Drago’s arms and his cortex as well as killing the eliminators and a couple of the outriders.

Another super fun and super close game against an awesome opponent. We both had a couple of inopportune snake-eyes rolls but the game was a blast. I ended up getting 3rd for the invitational – the highest placing of someone that “dark horsed” their way in on points for the invitational rather than winning and I was pretty happy overall. If you find yourself in Southern California I highly recommend you stop in to Mercenary Market they have a fantastic gaming area and the manager, Greg is a fantastic guy.

Adding this pic here just because I liked it. This is the view after my turn1.

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As mentioned earlier this week it is pretty busy here so I am just going to add a couple of pictures of things I have completed and things I am working on.

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I didn’t realize until I took this pic that I need to redo her base in the current scheme – this was my test model.

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I probably should mess with the white balance on these, but like I said, I have been busy.