Posts Tagged ‘warmachine’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and

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

 

The Game:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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After Action Review:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And here is how we won or lost our games.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Game 2 was up against David Henry who was also running Khador. I had hoped to be able to play something other than Butcher3 just to keep my options open for game 3 but one of David’s list was a Butcher1 Claws of the Dragon so I pretty much had to take him. I was planning on playing him twice anyway, so it wasn’t that big of a deal.
Just to recap so you don’t have to go back to a previous post, this is the list I brought:
Kommander Zoktavir, The Butcher Unleashed – WJ: +4
– War Argus
– War Dog
– Devastator – PC: 9Fenris – PC: 5
Man-O-War Drakhun – PC: 4
Iron Fang Kovnik – PC: 2Great Bears of Gallowswood – Volkov, Kolsk, Yarovich: 5
Doom Reavers – Leader & 5 Grunts: 6
– Greylord Escort – Greylord Escort 2
Iron Fang Pikemen – Leader & 9 Grunts: 8
– Black Dragon Officer & Standard – PC: 2
Widowmakers – Leader & 3 Grunts: 4
Kayazy Eliminators – Leader & Grunt: 3
Kayazy Eliminators – Leader & Grunt: 3
David did end up playing the Butcher1 list and it looked like this:
The Butcher of Khardov – WJ: +6
– War Dog
– Kodiak – PC: 8Iron Fang Kovnik – PC: 2
Iron Fang Kovnik – PC: 2
Uhlan Kovnik Markov – PC: 4Iron Fang Pikemen – Leader & 9 Grunts: 8
– Black Dragon Officer & Standard – PC: 2
Iron Fang Pikemen – Leader & 9 Grunts: 8
– Black Dragon Officer & Standard – PC: 2
Iron Fang Pikemen – Leader & 9 Grunts: 8
– Black Dragon Officer & Standard – PC: 2
Iron Fang Uhlans – Leader & 4 Grunts: 11
Pretty brutal jam and attrition list. Just the kind of list that Butcher3 likes to face. I also remembered to take a couple more pictures for this one but the painkillers make my hands shake something awful, so they are fairly blurry, sorry.
 
I was going 2nd again and since I was all crutchety I decided just to stay on the side I was on. It wouldn’t really have mattered much anyway, as you see there was basically a line of pikemen facing me across the table. The only thing of note is that the Uhlans were on the far side a bit of shallow water and I lined up my Fenris and the eliminators across from them. Eliminators do a fantastic job of jamming the cav up if they can run to engage them. The cav can’t pick up steam for impact attacks and in melee they need an 11 to hit. Also, uhlans aren’t fearless unless they are in command range of Markov so that would force him to either advance Markov up or keep an Uhlan or two back, which greatly reduces their effectiveness. I also set up the Great Bears to countercharge the Uhlans after they took out fenris (since I felt pretty sure that he would have to try for that or risk Fenris eating a unit).
Also my plan with Butcher was to get him into the zone, clear it out and do some dominating to try and win on scenario.
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Early Game
Most of David’s stuff ran forward and he put Iron Flesh on the central, green IFPs. He did run 2 of the IFP way out front to jam up some of my doomreavers. For my turn I advanced stuff as well, I set up Fenris to receive the charge from the Uhlans and the Great Bears ready to engage the uhlans after. The doomreavers killed the IFP jamming them up. My widowmakers advanced and took out the Iron Fang Kovnik that was trying to hide behind a building. There may or may not have been cover but it turned out I rolled high enough to hit for it not to matter. I spread my own IFP out as  second wave to try and counterjam while the doomreavers just basically ran to lock as many IFP in place as possible but the UA held back – I wanted to have his spray for later in the game. Butcher shifted a bit to the left in preparation to clear the zone. The other eliminators ran and took up position a bit behind the flag and used it to block off a pretty large bit of real estate from the pikemen due to not giving them room for model’s bases. I mostly did this in order to minimize the size of the CMA he could put on them since they also need 11s to hit.
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Butcher upkept Iron Flesh but stayed pretty far back. Not surprisingly none of the Doom Reavers survived, though the UA did. David did a pretty good job with his placements to not give me a lot of options for Butcher. He also ran to engage the widowmakers with a couple of the pikemen. Three of the uhlans did charge Fenris, but surprisingly, one of them missed and he got to stay on his pony. All of his units popped minifeat.
Unfortunately Fenris wasn’t in much of a killing mood (and thanks to the minifeat) and only killed 1 of them and then the Great Bears charged and finished them off other than the two in the background. The Eliminators on the right flank charged Markov and killed him (gang + combo strike is legit). The Doomreaver UA advanced to the middle of the zone and tried to spray off the IFP who had run to engage the widowmakers and killed one IFP. I had sacrificed the spray angle to get him where I wanted Butcher to go.
Mid Game
Butcher gave a charge order. One of the dogs charged and IFP man who was engaging a widowmaker. Butcher charged the UA and used flashing blade to kill a couple of IFP and then did his charge attack to kill the UA who failed his tough check. I cast impending doom and pulled in a pretty fair number of IFP (6-7?) and flashing bladed them to death. I then used Energizer and pulled the a bit closer (I forgot to use sprint) and used one to plug a hole. I considered popping feat since I was sitting on 0 but there were only 3 or so IFP that could threaten me. Granted, Butcher1 feat plus fury meant that they would do a real number on him but I needed to keep my feat as a threat to keep Butcher1 at range so I risked it.
The widowmakers, now mostly freed up, got a charge order. They were a bit confused but when Orsus tells you to charge, you damn well charge, so one of them ran to engage a BD UA. The other two both charged the most most immediately threatening pikeman and actually managed to kill him. My own Black Dragons piled in to shield wall and jammed hard and then popped their minifeat. Without charges the enemy IFP would need 10s to kill them and I was hoping to pull out Butcher1’s feat.
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David in turn charged and killed a couple of great bears and dismounted Fenris. Butcher just upkept Iron Flesh on the green squad and moved over to deal with the eliminators to avenge Markov (and try and camp on the flag). David’s IFP were unable to crack many of my IFPs.
In my turn Butcher advanced, Impending doomed and flashing bladed killing another 3-4 IFP and putting a big hurt on the kodiak and then flashing bladed once more killing another couple of IFP – he missed a couple first time around thanks to IF (ALSO CRAP THERE WERE SO MANY OF THEM!) and then finishing the Kodiak off with his initial attack. Finally he energized back again on no camp. By this time though there wasn’t really anything that could get to him.
He focused on trying to clear the flag to dominate it with butcher and since he used most of his remaining force he did.
End Game
I was able to clear the zone, but unfortunately, by this time I was all but out of time. I collected my 2 CPs for dominating the zone (this might have put me at 4)  and had like 7 seconds left which wasn’t enough to do much of anything. David ran 2 models into the zone and I was unable to kill both of them before my time was up.
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Wow, what a fantastic game! It was very tactical with movement and placement really keeping things interesting. Both of us kept trying to get the other to overcommit and neither of us were willing to make the first mistake. My inexperience with this list is what cost me the game. I think I really only needed maybe an extra 90 seconds and I would have been able to win on scenario which is really encouraging, considering how brutal David’s list was. Obviously I would rather have won, but it was a super fun game and very very tight.
Alex, the PG at one of my localish game stores, Mercenary Market down in Costa Mesa, has been running a tournament series this year. Basically it was one tourney a month and you earn points toward an 8 player invitational to be held in September. The winners of each individual tourney automatically qualified and then it went to the points. One of the people who won 2 of the events is in the military and has transferred to Japan so obviously he couldn’t make it. I never managed to crack further than 2nd at the store but had enough cumulative points to qualify as an alternate.
The invitational took place last weekend and it was an absolute blast. I had knee surgery a few weeks ago and was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to attend but thanks to Alex and the awesome player base they were willing to let me stay at the same table (Alex rearranged the terrain every game) I was able to get in some games. Since my knee got really bad back in July I haven’t really played any games so knew I was rusty going in to the event. I had also managed to get my hands on the Butcher Unleashed and was dying to play him, so despite having no table time with him he was a must play for me. I did spend a lot of time thinking about him while I was lying around.
The format was 3 lists and you had to play 2 during the 3 round tourney. My lists were as follows:
Khador – Butcher3 MMKommander Zoktavir, The Butcher Unleashed – WJ: +4
– War Argus
– War Dog
– Devastator – PC: 9Fenris – PC: 5
Man-O-War Drakhun – PC: 4
Iron Fang Kovnik – PC: 2

Great Bears of Gallowswood – Volkov, Kolsk, Yarovich: 5
Doom Reavers – Leader & 5 Grunts: 6
– Greylord Escort – Greylord Escort 2
Iron Fang Pikemen – Leader & 9 Grunts: 8
– Black Dragon Officer & Standard – PC: 2
Widowmakers – Leader & 3 Grunts: 4
Kayazy Eliminators – Leader & Grunt: 3
Kayazy Eliminators – Leader & Grunt: 3

Khador – Vlad2 MM55 / 55 (50+5) Warcaster(s) : 1/1 Warjack(s) : 1 Battle Engines : 0 Solos : 0 Units : 6Vladimir Tzepesci, The Dark Champion – WJ: +5
– Sylys Wyshnalyrr, The Seeker
– 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

Khador – Strakhov MM56 / 56 (50+6) Warcaster(s) : 1/1 Warjack(s) : 1 Battle Engines : 0 Solos : 4 Units : 4Kommander Strakhov – WJ: +6
– Torch – PC: 10

Iron Fang Kovnik – PC: 2
Man-O-War Drakhun – PC: 4
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution – PC: 3
Manhunter – PC: 2

Assault Kommandos – Leader & 9 Grunts: 8
– 3 1 Kommando’s: 3
Iron Fang Uhlans – Leader & 4 Grunts: 11
Kayazy Eliminators – Leader & Grunt: 3
Kayazy Assassins – Leader & 9 Grunts: 8
– Kayazy Assassin Underboss – Underboss 2

The lists are all pretty straight forward in their intent for the most part. Since Butcher3 is my new toy he would definitely be along for the ride and the list I chose for him was basically to maximize offensive threats. I wanted to present more high threat targets than most opponents could deal with and hopefully cause them to panic and maybe spread fire out rather than focus on something. I picked Vlad2 because I have been talking to Lemming Stampede about him quite a bit lately and getting some fantastic tips on how to run him and wanted to try him out again. Strakhov is there because my last 4 games vs. Menoth have ended with my caster getting tagged by some stupid drifting auto fire AOE and then burning to death. Also, I have an obsession with him. But mostly it was the fire thing in case I faced Menoth or, possibly, Everblight. Call him fire insurance.
The other common theme here is that all of the lists have fairly crazy long threat assassinations. That was intentional because I knew I was out of practice and the clock would definitely be against me. This gave me an option for a hail mary assassination if necessary. At least that was my plan.
The first round match ups were determined by the stats from the regular season as I didn’t have a first place win during the series I was near the bottom. I tried to remember to take pictures, but didn’t always.
Game 1
My first match was against John and his awesome Convergence of Cyriss army playing Supply and Demand. Since I have been broken basically their entire release cycle I had yet to play them and was a bit concerned (I haven’t even read the book) but was planning on playing Butcher3 anyway. My re-creation of his list here might be entirely wrong, but like I said, they all have crazy names and abilities. So apologies. Also, it bears mentioning here that we all agreed before hand that he could use any models released from Gencon – so while he didn’t have the full faction releases he had several key pieces like the Steelsoul Protector and the colossal.
HIs list (more or less) was:
Convergence of Cyriss – Cyriss MM55 / 56 (50+6) Warcaster(s) : 1/1 Warjack(s) : 5 Battle Engines : 0 Solos : 4 Units : 1Forge Master Syntherion – WJ: +6
– Cipher – PC: 9
– Diffuser – PC: 3
– Inverter – PC: 8
– Inverter – PC: 8
– Prime Axiom – PC: 19

Algorithmic Dispersion Optifex – PC: 1
Algorithmic Dispersion Optifex – PC: 1
Attunement Servitors – PC: 0
Steelsoul Protector – PC: 2

Optifex Directive – Leader & 2 Grunts: 2

I also want to note that since I don’t know much of his stuff there will be lots of unhelpful comments like the Heavy Vector on the right moved over, or some of his models flared the entire western border of Occupied Llael. At least there are a few pictures.
Early Game
The first question I asked after he picked his list was whether the colossal had drag or not. Turns out it does, 2 in fact. My first priority then became dealing with the colossal first and then I’d deal with things as they came up. I ended up going 2nd and for deployment basically just tried make sure I could threaten the center of the table with most of my army. The widowmakers set up to try and take out the enemy objective. I also knew that Syntherion has auto repair and with the mechanics I would have to destroy things completely.
Syntherion and his entire army basically just advanced and the clockwork warcaster set up behind a wall that was just a bit outside his deployment zone and put reconstruct on the light vector, hot shot on the cipher, and something other than synergy on himself (I don’t remember).
 
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For my turn I moved most everything forward as far as I could. I was hoping to trap the colossal on the other side of the wall but couldn’t quite get far enough up. Since there is no healing in his army, Butcher gave 1 focus to the devastator and issued a run order for his hounds and they ran up behind the forest.
 
For the next clockwork turn they flared and shot most everything in my front line. I had one doom reaver who refused to stay down. Fenris got lucky and just ended up getting dismounted.
Midgame/End Game
I spent a long time on the following turn. I knew that the Prime Axiom had to be my top priority but didn’t want to leave Butcher in an untenable position. I decided to go pretty much all in. My IFP charged first and did a little bit of damage, then 2 of the 3 surviving doom reavers charged in and did a little bit of damage. Fenris was equally unimpressive. At this point I was starting to get a little bit worried. Next up the Great Bears charged and even missed with one attack and didn’t do stellar damage with the last. At this point though, I felt like I had committed enough that I needed to stay the course so I sent butcher in. I rolled something like 9 on 4 dice for the charge and started to sweat. The mediocre dice continued, but I was doing some damage with each attack. I ended up feating and killing him with a few left which I used to energizer into the the wrecked base and wrap myself in doggies’ warm embrace. The last few things I had did their best to jam up his jacks. An eliminator ran around behind Syntherion and pinned him to the wall. The widowmakers failed to kill the 15/15 objective after 2 turns of shoot at it.
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(and this picture is blurry, sorry, the other ones are better, my painkillers just make me shaky for a while)
John popped his feat this turn and bounced around some focus but didn’t really have any good angles on Butcher. He did end up killing much of the rest of my army. Also, it is worth noting that I spent so much time agonizing over my decisions that he had something like 20 minutes left and I was down to around 5. He did kill the eliminator but Syntherion was stuck next to the wall thanks to her sacrifice. Butcher had one opportunity and sounded the horn on his belt and declared the charge. I needed 7s to hit over the wall and boosted the first attack roll. I got a hit and my heart sank when I realized I was at dice –8 due to his full camp. However, in stark contrast to the rolls on the colossal I rolled gangbusters for the damage and did something like 12 points after armor (I think I rolled a 6,5,5,4). I bought an attack and chose to try and raw dog the 7 I needed. I got the hit and boosted the damage and did another 5. The final attack was fully boosted and I got the hit and did another 4 damage taking him down.
Whew. What a great game against an awesome opponent.
My clock management was terrible. It was a combination of not playing in a couple of months, playing a new caster with 0 table time, and facing an entirely new army that really just threw me off my game. Also the crutches and pain killers probably didn’t help. My plan of just taking max aggression and attempting to overwhelm him with high value targets worked, but to be fair, I think the matchup was really rough on him. He probably could have hung back a bit for an extra turn or two of shooting.

Haven’t posted for a bit because, as those of you who are friends on facebook or twitter know, I recently had knee surgery. That means no gaming unfortunately but I did recently do some building. What did I build you may be asking?

Take a gander.

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These guys (and girl). They are much maligned I know, but with the introduction of the Iron Fang Kovnik and a few other pieces (as well as the current dominance of Cryx and Menoth) I think they might do okay. I’ll let you know. Torch I think will do quite well with Vlad3 as well as some other ideas I have. I’ll let you know on that too.

Maddie and the Bokur (still in blister) are both looking forward to hanging out with their new bff – Butcher3. 

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.