Monday, October 27, 2014

You can lead a horse to Butcher but you can't make him win

So I finally bowed to peer pressure and played a 35 point game with the Butcher (who I was given as a gift). Also new is the Frontline Gaming mat, which is great... as long as you aren't just playing with unpainted models that are primed white...
Butcher I
Nyss Hunters

My opponent was running:
Xerxis I
-Basilisk Krea
-Aptimus Marketh
Paingiver Beast Handlers
Paingiver Task Master
Gatorman Posse
Swamp Gobber Bellow Crew

So it turns out Xerxis is pretty much a mirror image of the Butcher? Interesting. Kinda jealous that he has an arm buff and can give out pathfinder.

We rolled scenario 9: Incursion, and he opted to go first, so I chose the side of the table with a hill (for the Destroyer) and a wall (for the Butcher).

He deployed in a brick with his heavies on my right and gators on my left.

I put the Destroyer on the right, opposite his heavies and Marketh, the Devastator on the left in case I needed it to contest the flag, and the rest of the battlegroup in the middle. I decided to try something different with the Nyss and deployed them behind the jacks.
I forgot to take the guns off the Devastator...

Turn 1:
Whole lot a runnin'. Fury went on the Berserker. The left flag disappeared, leaving the Devastator with a house between him and the action.

Turn 2:
He threatened the right flag with his heavies, while the Gobber's smoke hid Marketh and Xerxis from the Destroyer. His Gators moved up to the middle flag, just in my charge range.

I forgot that I was running the Devastator and not the Demolisher, and gave him two focus for shooting with. When I remembered (read: was reminded by my opponent, who clearly knows my army better than I do) I just ran him up. I wasn't going to do anything else with that focus anyway. The Destroyer took a fully boosted shot against Tiberion, but I forgot he had Defender's Ward on him. At dice-11, I didn't break armour. The Berserker charged a Gator, connecting with his second attack but failing to kill it even with Fury. The Juggernaut, on the other hand, put one of the large lizards down without trouble.

At this point I see an opportunity; I move the Nyss forwards and take CRAs against the Beast Handlers, killing the three that are in range. The unit passes it's command check though. The rest of the shots go into gators (and the back of the Berserker), doing very little.

Turn 3:
Xerxis gave the last Beast Handler Pathfinder, allowing him to make it across to Enrage Tiberion, who then surprised me by charging the Juggernaut. I don't think I need to tell you the outcome of that little kerfuffle. The Gladiator ran over to grab the right flag. I think the Krea tried to shoot a Nyss but missed. The Gators then charged up and killed a few Nyss. He scored a point for the right flag.

At this point I'm worried about Tiberion's proximity to Butcher. I could almost certainly take him out with the Butcher, but that would leave him to be charged by Xerxis. I can move him away, but that would leave the Destroyer too far away to benefit from Full Throttle and the Feat, and I just cant resist the temptation to charge the Gladiator. So I decide to take my chances and leave him where he is.

I drop Fury and give the Destroyer three focus. Butcher feats, casts Full Throttle, and kills a Gator over the Nyss' heads. The Destroyer charges the Gladiator and rolls well, killing it with a focus to spare. The Devastator kills a couple of Gators, and the Berserker kills the last one. I issue a run/charge order with the Nyss, with the two in front of Tiberion "charging" for a total of one damage, and the rest running up to try to block trample lanes. My mind kind of blanked here and I spent ages nudging them around to try to find the best way to make sure there was nowhere for Tiberion to go. I score a point with the Destroyer.

Turn 4:
The Krea manages to paralyze Butcher. Marketh comes up and tries to kill a Nyss Hunter with soul-boosted attack rolls, but misses. So Xerxis gives himself Pathfinder and charges up to the Nyss, managing to single-handedly kill three of them and clear out Tiberion's path. An Enraged Tiberion then puts Butcher (and two Nyss - he had to do something with the shield and tusks) into the dirt.

It was an interesting game. Full Throttle is much more useful than I would have expected, but Butcher's lack of Pathfinder and speed buffs really hurts. I think I need to try the Kodiak with him, although the Grolar would probably be even better. You know, when it comes out.

I feel like Butcher is generally going to let the opponent get the charge and then try to kill him with what's left of your army, which I guess is practically and thematically appropriate when playing jack-heavy? Not sure I'm comfortable with "let opponent hit you" as a game plan though.

The dice were pretty tame overall, although my opponent did have a couple of spots of bad luck; he didn't pass a single tough roll with those Gators, if even one had survived it would have severely hampered my ability to move my Nyss over to protect Butcher (I think the Task Master stops them from getting knocked down).

At this point my Destroyer has probably killed more heavies than my Juggernaut. This is kinda why I want the Decimator to work so much: I can contribute with it while holding it back... in theory. Those extra few inches of range just seem to make such a big difference for the Destroyer though, plus of course arcing fire.

I'm not sure spreading my jacks out was such a good idea. At least keeping the Demolisher in the center and sending the Berserker towards the flag might have been wiser.

In hindsight, if I had left the Gladiator alone for another round it's possible I might have been able to kill Tiberion with the Butcher and then used the Nyss to screen him from Xerxis, perhaps even camping focus instead of using Full Throttle (although that would have left a lot of Gators alive). Eh, woulda shoulda coulda, right?

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