Monday, April 14, 2014

Across The Table From Khador

So I got to see what it's like on the other side of the table from Khador last weekend. It was a good game but my brain was kinda frazzled or something because I kept trying to do stupid things like shoot while I was engaged, so apologies to my opponent. I was running the same Harkevich list as last time, and he was running a Butcher list that looked something like:

- Juggernaut
- Juggernaut
- Juggernaut
Iron Fang Pikemen with UA
Iron Fang Kovnik
Widowmaker marksman
Kell Bailoch
Kayazy Eliminators
Kayazy Eliminators
Eyriss (not sure which one)
Ayana & Holt

ALL THE SNIPERS! I'm impressed by how many credible threats he fit into this list. You can't ignore snipers if you have infantry on the same side of the table - hell, that many snipers can put respectable damage on Warjacks - so you have to commit some resources to dealing with them. At the same time he has a lot of stealthed models that will run amuck unless you find a way to deal with them. And then there's the three Juggernauts; that's a lot of armour to crack and of course they hit hard.

I didn't feel like taking photos but I'm going to give a quick rundown of the game. I won the roll-off and chose to go second. We rolled a scenario with a rectangular central zone and a couple of objectives on the corners. He deployed the pikemen just left of center (that's my left), the Juggernauts just to the right. I deployed the Nyss and the Blasters on my left, my Jacks and mechanics on the right, with Harkevich basically in the center. In advanced deployment he put his snipers opposite my Nyss, and the rest on right.

This was the first time I've played against Eyriss, but I've heard of her and read her rules so I made it my first priority to get rid of her. Unfortunately she was in a forest so I couldn't even hope to get her with AOES. Until a lucky shot from Black Ivan drifted off the Manhunter and just clipped her. Phew.

The Nyss and Blasters dealt with the Snipers, although I might have been a little too cagey with them; I kinda walked up and tried to take shots rather than running up and being in their faces right away. They pretty much bounced off the Pikemen though; I never realized how tough those guys really were before, but at DEF 16 (Iron Flesh) and ARM 18 I barely managed to kill any.

My Jacks never really had the face-off I was expecting against his, partly because of terrain and partly because of his solos getting in my way and partly because he played defensively. He had the Zone pretty early and he basically just concentrated on keeping me out of it. I did get to have some fun with the Spriggan though; I charged a Juggernaut under Harkevich's feat,and took about half it's damage boxes, but didn't manage to cripple anything. Next turn I was sure he would wreck the Spriggan; Ayana hit it with the "kiss" thing that mostly countered the armour boost, and he had two Juggernauts in range, but instead of loading them up with focus and beating it down he took a couple of swings with the first Juggernaut and slammed it with the second. He was trying to get it out of the zone to score, but there was terrain in the way and it was left just in the zone. It was stationary and knocked down, but he still didn't score. Next turn I loaded it with focus, stood it up with Jump Start, and wrecked one the Juggernauts and crippled a system or two on the second. Even with Ayana's kiss the Juggernaut couldn't wreck it next turn and he had to charge in some Pikemen to finish it off. Not exactly an even piece trade I suppose, but the Spriggan still survived longer than it should have and took far more effort to take down that it should have, so I'm happy with it.

At one point I loaded the Decimator up with focus to charge one of his Juggernauts, but then couldn't charge because I was engaged by his Manhunter. For some reason he pretty much just left that Juggernaut standing there though; it seems he didn't want to move any farther forwards because it would be out of the Butcher's control area and wouldn't benefit from his spells or feat. I pretty much just ended up ignoring that Juggernaut and using the Decimator to stand back and shoot, for some reason. Meh, not exactly the best use of resources on either side.

So how about those Kayazy Eliminators, eh? I've glanced at them on paper but they didn't look like anything special to me at first glance. After playing against them though? Jeez! They have Stealth so you can't shoot them, and even if you can they have DEF 15, and even though they have low armour they still have five damage boxes so they have a chance of surviving a direct hit or a blast. You can't punch them because they're DEF 17 against melee attacks. Seven-bloody-teen! And they just move through everything without taking free strikes. Seriously, they literally just move through other models. And they are fast. So you can't kill them and you can't block them. Even if you put a wall of infantry right in front of your caster, they just move through your caster as well and hit you from behind. And even if you completely surround your caster (or other precious model) with infantry, they have Side-Step and two attacks, so they can kill an infantry model then move forwards then attack again! There's almost no way to stop them from reaching their target!

That's how I lost actually. He ran his Eliminators up, killed a few of my mechanics and support models, then ganged up on Harkevich. I managed to kill one with a spray from the Koldun Lord (which "only" needed a 9 to hit), my mechanics needed 12's to hit and even Harkevich couldn't do anything with no focus (my Warjacks needed it all). Black Ivan was right there, I could have turned him around and taken at least one out with a bombard (perhaps all of them if I'd been willing to spend the focus on Broadside) since at that range it couldn't scatter far enough to miss, and while I knew that was the smart thing to do, I decided the fun thing to do was shoot at a Juggernaut and hope Harkevich could survive the Eliminator's attacks seeing as they are rather low power. He couldn't.

It was a very educational game. It was a list with a lot of threats, and while each threat was perhaps not very powerful, they were not easy to kill; I didn't have enough units to allocate to all the threats. Iron Fangs are much tougher than I realized. There's a sort of synergy going on, where the more Stealth models you have the bigger a problem it becomes for your opponent. It's probably a good idea to have a small unit or some solos in my back field that can deal with assassins. I was surprised that my opponent didn't play more aggressively with his Juggernauts, but I guess they scared me into keeping my distance with my Jacks, allowing him to go for the scenario win. He kept spending his focus on Full Throttle rather than allocating it to the Juggernauts next to the Spriggan, which didn't really make sense to me since you don't really need boosted attack rolls to hit Khador Jacks. I guess it increased his chance of making things stationary, but then that's not a huge deal for Harkevich. It's often worth upkeeping Escort even with Sylyss dead just for the armour boost (I might have survived that last round if I'd had it up).

I'm kinda wishing I had the Devastator, or even a Demolisher, for dealing with those Eliminators. Actually I had been planning to take Torch and a Devastator rather than a Spriggan and Decimator, but I forgot to bring the Spriggan's magnetized options so ended up sticking with my previous list. Hmm, perhaps this is a good excuse for running multiple Spriggan-chassis Jacks, which of course I'm happy to do. If the Nyss had been that side I might have been able to do something with the Spriggan's flares and combined ranged attacks. Actually, now that I come to think about it, perhaps the Blasters could have worked; they're RAT 6 and can get boosted attack rolls, plus they have more mobility than most of the rest of my army; maybe I should have pulled them over to the right rather than aiming for his snipers and Pikemen?

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