Wednesday, May 7, 2014

More Shooting Shenanigans

We had an extended day at the club and I was able to play a couple of games of Warmachine and an introductory game of Infinity.

We were using the Infinity quickstart rules, I found the game very interesting and a great deal of fun. Models are very fragile as a single shot can take one out of the fight, but there's a high degree of randomness involved so you could lose a model to the first shot of the game (as I did) or have two models flailing at each other for multiple turns without doing any good (as we did). I really like the reaction system; the game feels much less "my turn your turn" since you are reacting to your opponents moves. I also think the dice system is very cool, it's much harder to work out probabilities than in other games I've played, and while having better stats gives you an advantage it could always realistically go either way. And of course the models are amazing, although from my limited exposure to them I don't think that the factions have as strong a signature visual style as factions do in other games. Perhaps it's just more subtle and I'll pick up on it if I keep playing.

But back to Warmachine. I played my current Harkevich list against a Cygnar list that went something like:
- Stormclad
- Sylyss
Storm Blades with the UA and Gunners
Storm Lances (5)
Tempest Blazers (5)
Storm Blade Captain x 2

My opponent gave me a heads up on what the army could do and what Caine's strengths were. We rolled a scenario with two zones, each with an objective in the middle. I won the roll-off and opted to go second. He deployed most of his army opposite the objective on my left, with pretty much just the Tempest Blazers on my right. I deployed Torch and Thor's group to the right to deal with the Tempest Blazers, Ivan and the Demolisher on my left, the Nyss far to the left where they could run into the forest, and the mechanics behind the Jacks.

Round 1
He advances and casts a lot of buffs. I advance and cast the usual Escort on Harkevich and Fortune on Torch. I didn't use Thor's Drive as I didn't want to overextend the Blasters. Sylyss stays well back this time, and the Mechanics decide to stay back where it's safe.

Round 2
His Rangers and some Storm Lances do a number on the Nyss - the Rangers' ability to lower their defense basically makes them easy pickings, and he rolls pretty well. Also, electroleaps.
My army is the one with no paint on it. Sigh.

His Tempest Blazers take out Thor and some Engineers, and start to circle around behind my army. The Storm Blades (and a few of the Storm Lances) move up and try to take out the Demolisher, but between Cover, being engaged, and being armour 25, he barely scratches it. Because of the Killbox he moves Caine up a little and sits him between two pieces of the (very nice) generator terrain object.

In my turn I have an idea; I give Torch a single focus point and the Demolisher a single focus point. The Koldun Lord moves up and gives Black Ivan a focus point. I run Torch as far up as I can towards Caine then cast Broadside. The idea is to hit Caine with a fortuned spray attack; it won't kill him but it will do damage as he's not camping very much, and if it hits it can set him on fire. Problem is, I forgot that Warjacks have to be in Harkevich's control area to get the shot from Broadside, and I've run Torch too far forwards. If I had made sure to keep him in Harkevich's control area, or even moved Harkevich up first, it might have worked. Oh well. I use the Demolisher's shot to kill the Storm Lance engaging him (with help from a Blaster - the other does very little), and Ivan's shot to kill a Storm Blade Captain hiding way back behind the Storm Blades. Ivan then tries to kill the second Captain in his activation but is out of range; the deviation kills a Ranger (and possibly a Storm Blade). I don't want to open up the Demolisher; it's much more valuable contesting the zone and blocking his army, but I want to try to score, so I use a slam power attack against the objective. It doesn't do any damage. I pull my support models in to shield Harkevich from the Tempest Blazers; I know this only a temporary measure, but oh well. The remaining Nyss charge the Storm Lances; the two on the right miss, prompting Cylena to show them how it's done; she hits and rolls three sixes for damage, leaving the last Hunter with nothing to do. I like to think she cut both man and horse clean in half with a single swing.

Round 3
I don't think he likes where Torch is standing, because he decides to try to go for the caster-kill. He moves up Caine and uses Thunder Strike to slam Black Ivan into Harkevich. Unfortunately, because of the pylons sticking out from the terrain object I was hiding behind, I couldn't put the Battle Mechanic Officer in base contact with Harkevich, otherwise he at least would have stayed on his feet.
BTW that's a forest in the top right.

I don't remember why, but he took the opportunity to set the Stormclad on the Demolisher. It didn't do very much. His Rangers and Tempest Blazers then shot Harkevich to death.
Armour 18 isn't really enough to save a Warcaster from being shot to death.

The game was fun and I enjoyed seeing all that cavalry on the table. I like the idea of the fortuned shooty Jack running up and shooting at the Caster with Broadside (even if I screwed it up this time); perhaps a fortuned Destroyer or Behemoth together with Black Ivan could catch people by surprise? I was also impressed by how useful the Demolisher was in just holding people back; the terrain and objective helped a lot of course. I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised however at how quickly the Nyss died thanks to the loss of a couple of points of defense.

My second Warmachine game was a 35 point game against a Mercenaries army. Against my better judgement I decided to drop the Nyss rather than a Warjack, and I also dropped Thor's group and put the Man-O-War Kovnik back in. To be fair none of them had been doing very much for me lately and it was getting a bit late so I didn't want to spend to much time stressing over army composition. His army included:
Gorten Grundback
- Driller
- Blaster x2
Forge Guard x2
Herne and Jonne
A girl and her pet bear (?)

I didn't take any photos and we ran out of time early in the game as the club was closing, but at that point I had made some mistakes in my positioning: I set up Torch at what I had judged was just in range to charge the bear or one unit of Forge Guard through rough terrain, the Kovnik about 8 inches away from the same unit of Forge Guard, and the Demolisher likewise about 8 inches away from the other unit of Forge Guard. The thing is, it turns out Forge Guard have Reach. My opponent had mentioned it, but I hadn't heard him and it just hadn't occurred to me that Dwarves would have Reach - I mean, seriously, would you expect them to? So they got the charge on the Kovnik and murdered him, and the other unit charged the Demolisher and put some damage on him. Also, after checking their card(s?), it turns out the Bear and his girl have Pathfinder so they were able to charge Torch. Luckily he was just out of range of the girl so the Bear wasn't able to get a gang bonus, but the bear still did a lot of damage (damned Warbeasts with their infinite Fury) then threw Torch out of Harkevich's control area, effectively crippling him.

With five minutes left, we decided to play on because I thought there was a chance I could pull off an assassination; I trampled the Demolisher over the Forge Guard and tried to shoot at Gorten. We were in a hurry at the time so we didn't spend long figuring out if it was legal or not, but in retrospect I don't think it was; Torch pull that trick because he has Virtuoso, allowing him to make ranged attacks in the same activation as melee attacks, but Demolishers don't have Virtuoso. Anyway, the Dwarves' free strikes crippled the Demolisher's left arm, so I didn't bother to buy a second shot because I forgot his guns aren't in his arms; I missed the first shot and the Broadsides shot, so we stopped there.

I was impressed by how strong a list that was: the Forge Guard are tough and hit hard and will kill Warjacks or infantry (if they can reach them), Herne and Jonne bring a fair bit of anti-infantry, and of course he's also got the Blasters for that, and then there's the Driller (which he can buff to P&S 21!) and the bear for even more armour cracking; the list is slow but can really dish out the pain. Even if I hadn't underestimated the army and gotten all my models charged, I still don't know how I could have won short of a lucky assassination run.

So this time I was up against two large Weaponmaster units with Shield Wall and Reach. So Weaponmasters can kill infantry, heavy infantry, and Warjacks; kinda makes me feel like any other kind of unit is a bit redundant. It just kind of feels like paper-rock-scissors-shotgun, and guess who's the shotgun.

I'm really starting to like the possibilities Harkevich brings for a ranged assassination, although I would need a more focused list to make the most of it - maybe it's time to give Behemoth a go? I think it's time to drop the Mechanics; I just so rarely do anything useful with them, especially with my Jacks moving up more quickly thanks to Escort. The Koldun Lord isn't doing very much either now that he's not marshaling a Jack (and he's a lot easier to kill without one to take shots for him), I think I'll drop him too. I think I need to trade Thor and co for some form of resilient infantry. Or Doom Reavers with the escort; you can never have too many Weapon Masters right? While I'd love to swap the Spriggan back in, I'm really starting to see the value of the Demolisher as a mobile wall that you can't ignore, and I'm not sure I'm done experimenting with Torch just yet.

I've have noticed that I tend to swap back and forth between the past and present tense when writing battle reports. I need to keep an eye on that.

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