Thursday, December 31, 2015

Another One Bites The Dust...

So that was 2015 eh? Hard to believe it's over already. Looking back, it doesn't feel as if I accomplished much - not as much as I would have liked certainly. Having said that, I do feel that in several ways I'm in a better place than I was this time last year.

Old Resolutions
Before deciding on new resolutions for next year (tomorrow), I wanted to take a look at my resolutions for this year and see how well I did:

1. Watch More Anime
Well, I started watching an anime about assassins with ancient weapons or something, but I found it depressing and slightly annoying, so I stopped. Then I tried to watch "Kill La Kill"; I LOVED the first few episodes, but the longer the series went the more it annoyed me, and by the last few episodes I hated the main characters and the plot, so I stopped before finishing. I'll watch the last few episodes someday, but I don't think it will really matter to me. Which is a shame because Gurren Lagann is one of my all-time top three anime. That's about all for anime, but I did read a lot of manga, some of which I really loved. So... I dunno, not sure how to score this one.

2. Exercise More Regularly
Yeah, I flat out failed on this one. Just... ugh. Did. Not. Happen.

3. Paint More Minis
Well, I officially painted 4 models to a satisfactory level in 2014, and this year I finished 5, so technically that's a success. In my defense, one of those 5 had some 26 pieces. I had expected to do more overall, but I guess it's not too bad.

4. Post Most Reviews
Sigh. Well, I guess I posted about the same number of reviews this year as the last: 3, plus a couple of minor rants. That's actually really depressing; I have dozens of half-written reviews waiting to be finished, but I never seem to get around to finishing them.

5. Stick To A Routine
Well, I think I'm doing better than I was last year. I'm sleeping, waking, and spending my time more consistently than last year. I'm not there yet though.

6. Be More Responsible With Money
Yeah, OK, I'm going to give myself this one.

Overall I think I've made minor progress on most of my goals, except of course for the exercise thing. Hopefully next year will be better.

New Resolutions
I'm planning to move health and fitness higher up on my list of priorities. This probably means spending less time on Warmachine; well, less time assembling models anyway. I don't intend to stop playing or anything. Anyway, my main resolutions for 2016 are:

1. Wake up early
I'm not very good at waking up early in the morning these days. This year I want to change that.

2. Exercise
I'm going to try to be harder on myself this year, make less excuses etc.

3. Eat Better
I've been getting careless with my diet (which was never very good to begin with), so this year I'm going to try to eat more fruit, veg, and raw foods.

4. Read More
By which I mean to read more useful stuff, not just manga and Warmachine crap.

And Now For Something Completely Different...
For the sake of having something positive to show, I'm going to finish here by posting some photos of some conversions that I've completed, but I won't have time to paint for a while.

Robin Croe:


Merc multijack:

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

All The Dudes!

I've been working on some Doomreaver conversions. They're not finished, but they were good enough to put on the table and I'm not going to have time to put the finishing touches on for a while, so I decided to give them a go. I didn't want to lose any of my existing infantry though, so I stripped out all of my support and downgraded Beast 09 in order to fit them in.
Doom Reavers
Nyss Hunters
Croe's Cutthroats
Alexia & the Risen

Beanpole was trying a variation on his previous list:
-Basilisk Krea
-Aptimus Marketh
Incendiari (4)
Paingiver Beast Handlers
Tyrant Commander
Gobber Bellows Crew
Void Spirit

We had the scenario with three flags. Beanpole won the roll and chose to go first. I chose the side with forests over the side with the house.

He deployed centrally, with the Nihilators on my left and the Incendiarii on my right. I wanted one advanced deployment unit behind each of the side flags and the Nyss in the center, so I put the Cutthroats opposite the Incendiarii, figuring they had a better chance than the Doomreavers. The Spriggan was directly facing Tiberium, and everything else bunched up around him in the center.

Round 1:
Everything advanced. He put Defender's Ward on the Nihilators and put up the Krea's animus.

I advanced my models and spread them out. Iron Flesh went on the Nyss Hunters. Alexia created a Thrall.

Round 2:
Makeda cast Carnage. The Nihilators moved up and killed my two sacrificial Doom Reavers and a Nyss Hunter. The Incendiarii killed some dudes with fire, but not as many as they might have with better scatters. The Void Spirit ran to engage Croe, who's gun was the only magical weapon I had on that side of the board, and scared the Cutthroats into a failed command check. Makeda popped her feat, and the Gobbers put up a cloud in front of some Nihilators.

The closest Nihilator was engaging a Nyss Hunter, so I had to take a risk and move Sorscha up to engage him in order to cast Freezing Grip with any realistic chance of success. I boosted the attack roll and the spell landed, so Sorscha finished up by killing a couple of frozen Nihilators and knocking down another with her quad-cannon.

Between the Doom Reavers, Nyss Hunters, and Risen, I managed to wipe out the entire unit, along with the Tyrant Commander. The Cutthroats rallied.

Round 3:
The Tyrant Commander was returned to play thanks to Makeda's feat. Under Carnage his Beast Handlers killed a Doom Reaver. The Tiberion and the Incendiarii took out some Nyss Hunters and set a hunter, Cylena, and Sorscha on fire, leaving Cylena with a single damage box. The Gobbers put up a cloud to make sure the Spriggan couldn't charge Tibbers, who got Defender's Ward.

The fires on Sorscha, Cylena, and the Nyss Hunter all went out. I walked the Doom Reavers back to start scoring the flag. Croe walked away from the Void Spirit and tried to shoot it, but missed, getting pushed backwards by Poltergeist. This left a couple of Cutthroats out of command range and most of the rest I had held back, leaving them nothing to shoot at, but between that couple that did have shots and my Nyss Hunters I killed some Beast Handlers and all but one of the Incendiarii. I decided that Sorscha should take over the left flag to be ready to take over from the Doom Reavers, so she used Boundless Charge to get through the forest by charging a Doom Reaver, then Cyclone to reposition before she could actually attack him. The Spriggan shuffled to the left a bit, as Tiberion had been slowly edging closer.

Round 4:
He pulled the Void Spirit back to be able to score the flag on my right, and walked the last Incendiarii over to help contest, killing a Cutthroat while he was at it. The Krea charged over an killed another. Tiberion killed some Nyss Hunters, a Paingiver took out a Doom Reaver (reducing the unit to below half, meaning they would not be able to score any more). The Gobbers again put up a cloud to protect Tiberion.

Sorscha moved over to base the flag and gunned down the close Paingiver. The Doom Reavers then charged the Tyrant Commander; the first was a little out and the second missed on account of Set Defense. The Nyss killed a Paingiver, then I realised that they couldn't see anything else but the Tyrant Commander, so I decided to try to go for it. The first missed and killed the engaging Doomreaver, but this left the Tycom unengaged, allowing Cylena to finish him off. Croe missed the Void Spirit again, but one Cutthroat killed the last Nihilator and another did respectable damage to the Krea. Alexia flooded Tibbers with Risen and created another Thrall. The Risen managed to kill one Gobber, and the other failed his command check.
The poor little fellow was understandable panicked by the surrounding hordes of Undead.
Finally the Thrall charged the Krea and knocked out his body and spirit. I decided to run the Spriggan through the forest so as to stay close to Sorscha. At the end of the turn I scored a second point.
It's possible that the bottom Risen was one that I was preparing to place then forgot about.

Round 5:
The Void Spirit ran over and blew up a bunch of Risen. Makeda killed another, allowing Tiberion to charge up and splatter Alexia. I let her die and kept the Risen in play. Marketh tried to kill the Thrall but missed (somehow). Makeda hadn't had the focus to spare to heal the Krea, meaning it was rolling a single attack dice and couldn't be forced, consequently it failed to kill the Cutthroat engaging it. I scored a third point with Sorscha.

Sorscha dropped Iron Flesh, gave the Spriggan 4 focus, cast Boundless Charge on him, and feated. Croe finally managed to gun down the Void Spirit, while another Cutthroat finished off the Krea and the rest took futile shots at Makeda. The Thrall missed his swing on Marketh. The Risen shuffled around before I realised that their CMD was 3 and most of my moves with them had pretty much been illegal. Oh well.

The last Doomreaver charged the Gobber and viciously murdered the poor little fella, then Berserked onto Tibbers, doing a couple of points of damage. One Nyss Hunter took out the last Paingiver, while the other charged Tiberion for a few more points of damage. Finally the Spriggan charged out of the forest, making sure to base the flag for scoring purposes, and laid into the big guy. Even with the free charge, four focus, and Sorscha's feat doubling damage, he was unable to kill the Defender's Warded Titan. I forgot to base the right flag with the Cutthroats, but Sorscha still scored a fourth point at the end of the turn.

Round 6:
Makeda killed a Nyss Hunter, Doom Reaver and a couple of Risen (in a tournament setting it would have been worth it to try to score more points), then Tiberion laid into the Spriggan. Without cold dice and no Paingivers to Enrage him (and with us rushing and messing up some simple maths), he wasn't able to able to finish it off, but he did crit his final attack, allowing him to knock the Spriggan clear; not only did this save him from being made stationary, it meant that he would have been able to score if he could kill the last Nyss Hunter. Sadly he'd missed the Nyss with his shield, denying him a final point. Well, at least Marketh finally killed the Thrall. At the end of the turn I scored my fifth point and won the game.

My dice were very hot; I think I only missed a small handful of attacks all game. Meanwhile Beanpole's were pretty cold; he couldn't make the tough rolls he needed to bring back the Nihilators with Makeda's feat (which could have brought back a large number of un-frozen Nihilators dangerously close to a zero-camp Sorscha, with of course Carnage to help them land hits), the fire on Sorscha went out immediately, Tiberion kept getting 4s on his damage rolls against the Spriggan, his scatters were usually straight back away from my lines, and he even missed attacks against Risen on a couple of occasions!

Hmm, in retrospect I got lucky with the Nihilators, but if I hadn't managed to kill them all then he would have brought most of them back and they would not have been stationary. Perhaps it would have been smarter to just leave them frozen and focus on the rest of his army on his feat turn? At least shooting down Incendiarii means that they only come back with one damage box next turn. Or maybe I should have swapped Iron Flesh for Shatterstorm on the Nyss that turn, but if I had that then I wouldn't have been able to boost the Freezing Grip and I'm pretty sure it would have missed.

I thought this might just be the game where I finally manage to kill Tiberion, but no. I just cannot seem to put that guy down! You know, Beast Handlers under Carnage are pretty good; MAT 7 Reach with Anatomical Precision is pretty effective, especially when he can give them an additional 7" of walking distance between Savagery and Press Forwards. These are half-point models by the way. Maybe he should bring more and just charge them forwards as melee troops?

The Doom Reavers didn't exactly mow down all who dared stand before me, but they did grab the flag early (even if I forget to actually score with it), thanks to Reach and good MAT a pair in front were enough to hold off the Nihilators for a turn. The Croe's didn't do much at first, but they were useful in the late game and probably would have won me the game a turn earlier if I'd (all together now) remembered to base the flag. Also having another magic weapon is never a bad thing. I think this is the best I've ever seen the Nyss; they even managed to pass a command check once, something they normally seem to have trouble with. Alexia did a great job of being super annoying, sending out hordes of Risen and shooting Thrallpedos all over the place. In the end she even lured Tiberion into my threat range.

Overall I think this is probably the most competitive list I've played thus far, but I do miss some of my support models. I don't want to lose the Nyss or Alexia, and taking out the Cutthroats would weaken my ability to get upfield in a hurry and play for scenario, but it might be worth dropping the Spriggan for a Juggernaut just to get Sylyss and Reinholdt back in. The lack of Reach probably isn't a huge deal when I'm just hiding my jack behind a sea of bodies until late game; I didn't even use the Spriggan's grenades this game as I was too scared of drifting back over my own squishy troops, plus the Nyss don't need flares as much as others sometimes do. Or we could start playing at higher points levels, but this game already took a couple of hours or so to finish, so maybe not.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Going Epic

I decided to try epic Sorscha. Proxied naturally by my pSorscha model that has been sitting around in it's red primer for some two years now. I think painting her is going to have to be one of my new-years resolutions. I decided to take her web-wide-standard posse of Beast, Sylys and Rienholdt, along with my current infantry spam:
Sorscha II
-Beast 09
Croe's Cutthroats
Nyss hunters
Alexia & the Risen

Beanpole was running a much slower list than in recent games:
Makeda I
- Tiberion
- Krea
- Marketh
- Extoller Advocate (I think, proxied by the Extoller Soulward)
Incendiarii (min)

Tiberion is a real tough nut to crack, but no Molik Karn meant that at least I wasn't too scared of being assassinated. Immortals, especially under Defender's Ward, are pretty resilient to my ranged output, but they aren't as kill-y as Nihilators and they have a harder time with high DEF. Incendiarii can potentially wipe out swathes of my infantry, but at least I can actually kill them, unlike the Cetrati.

Our new friend, who I'm nicknaming Gru (because he has a lot of minions...), brought a fantastically painted Gator list:
- Wrassler
- Bull snapper
Gatorman posse
Gatorman posse
Gobber bellows crew

Game 1
We rolled the scenario with a flag and an objective on each side. I decided I would have to jam him out of the zones with my infantry, so when I won the roll I chose the side with protective terrain near the flags rather than choosing to go first. Because making bad decisions before the game even begins is my modus operandi it seems.

He deployed in a brick with Tibbers on my left. I decided that naturally meant I would put Sorcha and Beast on my right, with the Risen set to rush his objective and be a nuisance. The Nyss went in the middle, and the Cutthroats were positioned to jam his flag and shoot at his Incendiarii.

Round 1:
He ran up and spread out, angling towards the side of the table where my important models were. The Immortals got Defender's Ward.

Well, I didn't fancy running the Cutthroats up just to get instantly killed by AOEs and stuff, so I had to give up on the idea of jamming him out of his flag. Instead the Cutthroats moved up and shot stuff. They actually rolled pretty hot and took out two Incendiarii, which was huge since they were the biggest threat to my infantry.

The rest of my infantry ran up and spread out; my focus was on being hard to kill rather than being in a position to do a lot of damage. Sorscha put Iron Flesh on the Cutthroats and Shatterstorm on the Nyss (to prevent him from recovering souls from the Immortals).

Round 2:
The remaining Incendiarii managed to put Valachev and a Cutthroat on fire. His Nihilators ran and charged, but he actually forgot to take his charge attacks with them. The Krea moved up to protect the rest of the Incendiarii with Paralytic Aura. Makeda also put up Paralytic Aura.

The fire on Valachev went out. I wanted to freeze the Immortals, but I would need to un-engage the front ones first, so I had to start by activating the Cutthroats. They shuffled around, avoiding free strikes thanks to Zephyr. With some crazy-hot shooting they put down a bunch of Immortals and put some damage on the remaining Incendiarii.

Sorscha then used a boosted, Lucky-Charmed, Arcane-Secreted Freezing Grip on the nearest Immortal, freezing the unit. I decided at this point that the Immortals would not be much of a threat anymore, while Hakaar could be a bigger problem. So I moved up all my Nyss and took one giant, RAT 16, POW 20 shot at Hakaar. Which was shield-guarded by Tiberion. Who took like 3 damage from it thanks to the buff from Paralytic Aura. Fantastic activation that.

Beast moved up to protect Sorscha. I jammed some Risen forwards and took out another Immortal with a Thrallpedo.

Round 3:
Because I had moved Beast up to base contact with Valachev, the Nihilators had no problem setting him on fire again. A few of my models died to various attackers.

Valachev finally burned to death. This was a problem because Croe was all the way off to the left for some reason, leaving most of his unit out of command.

I figured that Alexia and some Nyss could probably take out Tiberion under Sorscha's feat, so I moved her to catch everyone, feated, then moved her back. Beast got two focus and Boundless Charge, with the idea that I would use him to kill Hakaar.

The Risen killed a Paingiver, then Alexia went into Tibbers. After burning all the Risen, Tiberion had lost a grand total of two damage boxes. That's with the feat. The Nyss then charged in, but only one broke ARM, doing six boxes after doubling for the feat. So yeah, that fell very far short of my expectations. Cylena missed her attack against an Immortal, just to further remind me how useless she is.

Using Reinholdt's spyglass, I saw that Beast was a little too far to reach Tiberion, and I didn't want him charging over that side with Tiberion still a threat, so I used him to kill an Immortal. Great stuff. Most of the Cutthroats couldn't attack, but the two that could killed another Incendiarii. I think Croe himself missed his attack against an Immortal.

Round 4:
Makeda moved up to dominate and cast Carnage. Hakaar, Immortals, and Tiberion killed Alexia, most of my Nyss, and my objective. Beanpole scored three points.

He was basically going to win this turn or the next since I was not going to be able to stop him from scoring for long. So I went for the last-ditch assassination. Sorscha got Lucky Charms and Arcane Secrets, then promptly wasted Arcane Secrets by using Cyclone. Then she cast an unboosted Freezing Grip on Makeda. It hit, freezing her in place. My last Nyss Hunter was fleeing and unable to help. Four shots with the Quad-iron did a few points of damage, but not much - POW 10 isn't great. Beast 09 walked up and killed the last Incendiarii, and the Cutthroats tried to walk into shooting range. Sadly only one made it, which obviously wasn't enough. At the end of my turn Beanpole scored another two points, bringing him up to five.

Game 2
Out of laziness we decided to just leave the table as it was and keep playing the same scenario. In retrospect this game me a huge advantage because the mistakes I had made were fresh in my mind and I was determined not to repeat them. Gru won the roll and chose table sides, which gave me another big advantage because going first is exactly what I should have done first time. We both chose the Arcane Wonder objective.

This time I decided to play it safer and send Sorscha after my own flag. So I placed her and her retinue over on my left. The Nyss went in the middle again, but this time I put Alexia behind them to make sure she would be in a good position to collect souls.

Gru deployed his army in a tight bundle facing his flag, so I counter-deployed the Cutthroats directly facing them.

Round 1:
This time I was focused on getting as far forwards as possible, so everything ran. The Cutthroats were too far away so Sorscha put Iron Flesh on the Nyss.

Barnabus put up three swamps and everyone crowded into them.

Round 2:
The Cutthroats charged the Gators and the objective. Which, now that I come to write this, I realise makes no sense since the objectives shouldn't have been vulnerable yet. Also we forgot that the Arcane Wonder auto-hits models that attack it. They do a bit of damage but not very much. The rest of my army spreads out, with the Nyss forming a front line far ahead of my flag and Sorscha moving up to base my flag.

His Gators start killing Cutthroat and Risen, but keeps both units on the right side rather than starting to push towards my flag. The Gators put up smoke, and I think he put Iron Flesh on the Wrassler. I start scoring this turn.

Round 3:
The Cutthroats and a Thrallpedo charge the Gators and objective again, but fail to kill it. The Nyss kill the Gobbers because it's easier than killing Gatormen. Sorscha freezes the closer unit of Gators. I score my second point.

He finishes off the Cutthroats this turn. The Feralgeist starts to run towards my flag. He drops a swamp in front of Beast 09 for some reason. I score again.

Round 4:
Sorscha swasp Iron Flesh to herself so the Nyss can charge and kill the closest Gatormen. She also takes a Razorwind shot at the Feralgeist but I forget to take the extra dice from Sylyss and Reinholdt and it misses. Alexia charged the Wrassler, but due to Iron Flesh I ended up boosting attack and damage rolls, stopping me from doing too much damage before I ran out of Risen. I go up to 4 control points.

The Feralgeist makes it in to contest the flag. The Thrullg runs into the swamp. The Wrassler kills Alexia. The remaining Gatormen go for my Nyss but his warbeasts are in the way.

Round 5:
This is Sylys' moment to shine! If he can kills the Feralgeist I win the game! Swinging his enchanted butterfly net like the pansy elf he is, he completely whiffs his attack. So Sorscha fires a boosted Razorwind at it again. Shame it was engaged by Sylyss and she misses (I completely forgot to check if it hit Sylys too, my bad). So Sorscha walked up and tried to kill it with her hammer instead; she missed with the initial and with a bought attack, leaving her dry.

I had given Beast 09 two focus to slam the Thrullg backwards, but he couldn't make distance due to the swamp. Nyss went after the remaining Gatormen, and Reinholdt bravely stood between Sorscha and the huge mass of Gators.

Barnabus moved up and used his feat, knocking my entire army over. The Thrullg disrupted Beast, then the Wrassler charged in. However, due to abysmal damage dice, Beast was left with his movement and left arm, even after a Gatorman charged in to try to finish the job. The rest of the Gatorman killed all but one of my Nyss. He passed his command check though. A Witchdoctor made a run for my flag.

Round 6:
Sylyss stood up and whiffed again. Now I had come up with a plan that was based on the assumption that the Witchdoctor was contesting my flag. It turned out that he wasn't, but for some reason I went ahead with the plan anyway. Sorscha used Cyclone to finish off the Feralgeist (for some reason Gru had been careless and left it facing away from her, so she got the backstrike bonus) then instead of walking back to my flag she headed to the right, feated, and shot at the objective, which had two boxes left. The boosted damage roll was enough to finish it, netting me my fifth point.

I was doing quite well in the first game until I handed Beanpole my army on a silver platter (those parts that I didn't just destroy myself for the sole purpose of putting 2 damage on Tibbers). If I had continued with the plan and just jammed his zone bit at a time with Risen, trading the Nyss for more corpses if needed, then I think I would have had a good shot of starting to score before him. But I VASTLY overestimated when Alexia and Nyss were going to do under Sorscha's feat; this was partly due to slightly below average dice, but it was just a case where a few points swing on the dice would make a huge outcome - in other words it was extremely risky.

I learned from my mistakes and focused better on the game plan in the second turn. Gru's army didn't really have the tools for dealing with high DEF outside of his feat, but since I was feeding him my army piecemeal he didn't have a great opportunity to use it. I also think he had problems because of the medium/large base jam. In retrospect I think he might have been better of spreading out his Gators more rather than squishing them into those swamps in the start (when undead they shouldn't be too worried about taking too much damage from my shooting). Getting his Wrassler stuck behind his own objective was an issue; a trampling Wrassler probably would have gone a long way towards breaking my lines on the right. I'm not sure if he should have used his feat earlier; probably moving over to my left and using it to drop as many of my Nyss as possible earlier on would have served him better in the long run, but his low model count, low DEF, multi-wound army was quite vulnerable to Sorscha's feat and Freezing Grip. I think it was just a bad matchup for him, at least with that scenario; a single central zone might have given him the advantage as he could more easily contest, and of course use his feat to drop my DEF-dependent models.

I have to say, I missed Strakhov's enhanced battlegroup threat ranges. Sorscha's Freezing Grip is very powerful though, and of course Iron Flesh is huge. She's more mobile than Strak what with Cyclone not depending on killing an enemy model, but I miss Pathfinder. Her Quad Iron is much more reliable that Strak's riot gun when fired at the right targets, but the lower POW is a bit underwhelming. Well, this sort of thing is normal when moving between casters after all. Overall I feel better about her than pSorscha and pButcher anyway.

Beast didn't seem to do anything at all both games, but in reality his projected threat kept my opponents' big pieces away. Running for free was a big deal here, but having him there for armour cracking made him worth far more than a Kodiak or Berserker in this list.

You know, I've actually been quite happy with the Cutthroats so far. Just having an Advanced Deployment shooting unit has made them very useful, and against Hordes their shooting has been more useful than the Nyss' shooting often ends up being. Also, I like that I don't need to worry about Croe; in fact when he dies I can sometimes use that to my advantage. Compare that to Cylena, who's death weakens the unit as a whole, and Croe is just more fun.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Journey Man V - The Ultimate Showdown Of Ultimate Destiny

I should have caffeinated myself before this game, because I was clearly not awake enough for my first 50 point game in ages. This will probably be my last game in the Journeman league.
-Beast 09
Croe's Cutthroats
Nyss Hunters
Alexia & the Risen
Kayazy Eliminators
Kell Bailoch

Beanpole added yet more beasts to his list:
Makeda III
-Molik Karn
Paingiver Beast Handlers (max)
Cataphract Incendiarii (min)

Scenario was... whatever, two zones and two central objectives. I won the roll and chose to go first. Beanpole chose the side without a house, forest, and rough terrain in the way. He chose Fuel Cache and I took Arcane Wonder.

I wasn't really sure how to tackle this, so I decided to put my Nyss in the center and be ready to counter-deploy the Cutthroats. I set up the Risen to rush his zone and be a nuisance, while Alexia herself is more central. Strakhov was just behind the objective, aiming to get into my zone, with a jack on each side.

Beanpole deployed in a fairly balanced brick, so with no obviously better side for the Cutthroats I put them into position to jam my zone. I put Kell next to them for no good reason.

Round 1:
OH MY GOD! THE SUN! IT BURNS! Ah-hem. Sorry.  Anyway, Strakhov put Superiority on Beast and Sentry on Croe (for lack of anything better to do with his focus) and charged up. Not really making use of the Arcane Wonder there. Everything else runs up in one big messy poorly though out jam. Croe stands in a "come kill me, it'll be worth it, I promise!" position, while the rest of the Cutthroats position more conservatively.

Croe took the sentry shot at Makeda; he would have hit her too if she hadn't put up the Krea's animus. Not that it would have mattered as she had already cast all her spells before moving. The rest of Beanpole's models spread out with shield guards positioned to absorb some ranged damage.

Round 2:
It looked to me like Beast could reach Makeda through the gap in the two Incendiarii; I figured that with 4 attacks and her on two fury he'd have a decent chance of killing her. Besides, this is Strakhov, assassination is his thing, right? So I got the Nyss and Cutthroats out of his way, feated and cast Overrun on him (just in case), charged Strakhov off to the side, then sent Beast in. Well, I had judged it incorrectly (or maybe I had been too conservative in measuring the movement), and Beast couldn't get far enough to tag Makeda with his initial attack. He killed the two Incendiarii with his Thresher, also putting a lot of damage on the Savage and leaving it stationary. This triggered Overrun, allowing him to move up further.

At this point I made a big mistake and attacked Makeda. The first bought attack did only a few points of damage to Makeda, which she did not transfer. Now I had two attacks and she had two transfers. So I stopped attacking her and started swinging on Karn. Just two attacks wiped out two of his aspects and left him with something like 5 damage left; if only I had taken the first attack on him he should have been dead.

The rest of my models mainly missed or rolled low or didn't manage to charge because I had activated them before Strakhov. I charged the Eliminators at the heavily damaged Savage but they didn't make it; still this put them in front of Strakhov, which was a good thing. I had forgotten to take advantage of Sylyss' free upkeep and had not had any focus left for the Spriggan to run, so instead took advantage of the feat to charge over the patch of rough terrain. Kell shot at a Paingiver but Makeda's bodyguard was close enough to shield-guard the shot.

Well, I'd at least forced some order-of-activation issues for Makeda to heal Karn, but Beanpole figured it out. Makeda feated and started on Beast, and the Gladiator finished him off. The Bronzeback and lights killed a bunch of infantry, including most of the Nyss, though some low attacks rolls meant it wasn't as bad as it could have been. The Incendiari set Cylena on fire, but she survived the actual attack with one box left. The Krea tried to paralyze Alexia but narrowly missed. Then Karn side-stepped off some of my infantry to reach Strakhov, cutting him down in three blows.

Final Score: (wins/losses)
Beanpole: 5/2
Blondie: 3/2
Samurai: 2/5

OK, I pretty much threw the game away with that careless assassination attempt. If I had focussed on Karn instead of Makeda then I think I might have had a chance; Alexia and the Spriggan would have killed the Bronzeback while the rest of my models (what was left of them after that crazy feat) jammed his lights and Strakhov scored zones. With Overrun the Spriggan could potentially have picked off lights while staying safe himself... at least if I could have found a way to stop putting my own infantry models in my own way.

Kell was pretty useless again, and I even forgot about Sylyss' free upkeep. Didn't get a chance to use Rienholdt either. I'm thinking maybe at 50 points I should trade some infantry for a Juggernaut, or maybe a Berserker or Kodiak for the free run, since he can only afford to pay for one jack to run; since my infantry don't crack armour and don't have a hell of a lot of staying power (and I suck at positioning them), it might be a good idea. Plus, you know, I like me some warjacks.

In retrospect, perhaps I should have put the Nyss on my right and the Cutthroats on my left, with the Risen in the middle; that way the Cutthroats could have jammed him out of the farther zone while the Nyss jam him out of the closer one. Then I guess Strakhov and the jacks focus on his zone for scoring, so he has to put things in my threat range to contest. Meanwhile the Nyss (and maybe some Risen) have a high enough DEF that that are difficult to clear out from my zone, at least if I spread them out well. The problem is that with his feat and ability to pass around the Bronzeback's animus he has a lot of mobility and infantry clearing ability on the feat turn, so it's hard to say.

By the way, it seems that in the last game I forgot you need to be b2b with flags to score; I should have been able to base Blondie's flag as I was getting plenty of movement from Sprint, but I shouldn't have gotten that first point from my flag, meaning the game should have gone on at least one more turn. Oh well.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Journey Man IV - All Hallows Eve

It was Halloween, but since we were all far too old for trick-or-treating, we sat around and played with toys instead. Sadly Beanpole had to see a witch-doctor about getting a curse removed, so he couldn't make it. To mark the occasion I brought out the shambling hordes of the Undead...
-Beast 09
Croe's Cutthroats
Alexia and the Risen
Kell Bailoch

Blondie was forced to put down his still-in-progress Stormguard. We'll just explain away their missing limbs by calling them zombies I think.
Stryker I
-Old Rowdy
Journeyman Warcaster

We rolled up Scenario 3: Close Quarters. We probably forgot about the Killbox though. I won the roll and chose to go first. The light green thingy in the center is a hill, the dark green ones were forests, and I put a couple of walls up. I pretty much set everything up symmetrically because I am pretty much physically incapable of doing otherwise.

I put my battlegroup in the middle and Alexia on my left, facing his flag. He put his jacks and casters in the middle, the Gunmages facing Alexia, and the Stormguard on the other side. In the Advanced Deployment phase, I set up the Croes on the other side of the board from the Gunmages. I put Kell facing the Journeyman, as I figured he was the best target.

Round 1:
The very first thing I did in my very first turn... was to forget to allocate focus. Sigh. Strakhov put Superiority on the Spriggan and Occultation on himself. The Spriggan walked up while Beast 09 ran forwards for free. The rest ran forwards.

Blondie's Journeyman put Arcane Shield on the Hammersmith, but he ran Rowdy forwards before activating Stryker and was consequently unable to put Arcane Shield on him He did put Snipe on the Charger, which immediately killed Kell. Yeah, I should have learned by now; that's pretty much exactly what happened the last time.

Round 2: 
Strakhov moved forwards and used his feat, then threw two cinder bombs towards the Gunmages. The Spriggan charged Old Rowdy; my damage dice were a little below average but I did take out his hammer. Beast 09 charged the Hammersmith; I knew he wouldn't reach, but now he had to decide whether to gang up on the Spriggan and get Beast in the face next turn, or put one of his jacks into each of mine. Croe moved into melee with the Stormguard while the rest of the Cutthroats took a large toll with aimed shots, forcing them to flee.

Then something truly creepy happened. Kell's corpse rose shakily to it's feet. Perhaps recognizing the man who once liberated it, the evil blade Witchfire lent him a portion of it's power, elevating him to a true Thrall. Momentarily awash with power, Kell charged forth in search of vengeance. With a mighty blow he drove his blade deep into the housing of the Charger's dual cannon, leaving the weapon that had claimed his life crippled.

The rest of the Risen set up behind the clouds, hoping to engage the Gunmages next turn.

The Charger killed Kell a second time. The Hammersmith charged Beast, knocking him down and taking out his cortex. We weren't sure if Beast would be slammed through the flag or not so we just said that he stopped at the flag. Rowdy didn't have much luck against the Spriggan. The Gunmages however killed Alexia - who I had left on a hill but in sight - and I burned the Risen in a failed attempt to keep her alive. The remaining Stormguard ran behind the forest, but rallied. Finally Stryker used his feat.

Round 3:
Well, I wasn't going to do much to a Hammersmith running both Arcane Shield and Stryker's feat, so I put a dangerous plan into motion. Rienholdt wove the threads of fate to lend Strakhov some luck. Strak dropped Occultation and walked into melee with the Hammersmith, casting a boosted Ram to push it back. The Cutthroats then surrounded it, and Beast sacrificed his action to stand up and put himself between Strak and the Cygnar jack. Croe took a swing at the Journeyman but couldn't break his feat-enhanced armour.

At this point the Spriggan, frustrated by the strange energy deflecting his blows, decided to stop messing around and rolled TRIPLE SIXES on a boosted damage roll, finishing Rowdy off!
Strakhov dominated my flag for one point.

The Gunmages walked around the Spriggan and into range of Strakhov, inflicting an impressive 9 damage on him. The Stormguard attacked the Cutthroats, killing one with a melee attack and then shooting the Hammersmith with the AOE attack, killing two more. The Hammersmith then beat-back his way around Rowdy, leaving him with a single box in each arm and reaching Strakhov just as he ran dry on focus. The Charger charged the Spriggan and did a few points of damage. Stryker cast Arcane Shield on himself.

Round 4:
OK, losing more than half of Strakhov's boxes to the Gunmages scared me, so I decided that killing them had to be a priority. Luckily Blondie had bunched them up in order to get line-of-sight on Strak. The Spriggan pushed the Charger away with Bulldoze, then turned his back to him to find a position where he could be as close to the Gunmages as possible without engaging anything and sent a couple of grenades into them, killing four. Strakhov couldn't risk a free strike from the Hammersmith again, so he pushed it away again with Ram. He then walked back and onto the hill. Beast walked up to engage the Hammersmith again and did a bit of damage with his initials. Croe and three Cutthroats surrounded the Journeyman and wailed on him, but whiffed ALL their attacks!

The Hammersmith started to push Beast 09 backwards again, but killed him on the first hit, leaving him standing behind a wreck marker with a bunch of focus he couldn't use. Stryker and the Journeman killed a couple of Cutthroats, who failed the command check. The Gunmages walked forwards again and pushed Stryker off the hill with a Thunderbolt, but couldn't break his armour now that I was camping a bit.

Round 5:
The Cutthroats stood their ground and rallied. The Spriggan turned around and bulldozed the Charger again, following up this time and doing a lot of damage with his initials. Reinholdt used Lucky Charms on Strakhov again. Strak charged the farthest Gunmage, boosting his initial attack, which fortunately killed the Cygnaran and allowed me to sprint over to the enemy flag to dominate, bringing me to three points.

With very little left on that side, Blondie contested the flag as best he could with the Charger and Gunmages, who failed again to break Strak's overboosted armour. The Hammersmith ran around Beast's wreck, while the two Cygnaran casters finished off the Cutthroats. The last Stormguard killed Reinholdt with his ranged attack.

Round 6:
The Spriggan finished off the Charger. Strakhov charged a Gunmage, killed him, then killed the other with a boosted damage roll from a close-range Rift. Finally he sprinted away just for the fun of it. With that I dominated again, bringing me to five points and winning the game.

Final Score: (wins/losses)
Beanpole: 4 / 2
Blondie: 3 / 2
Samurai: 2 / 4

That was a great game; both sides were pretty decimated, though by the end he had more left than me and his Hammersmith was fresher than my Spriggan. There were some pretty clutch dice on both sides; Alexia, Beast, Rowdy and the Charger all fell victim to lucky rolls early, while Strakhov and the Journeyman both survived some pretty sticky situations. I will say that if Blondie had put Arcane Shield on Rowdy from the start, it would have been a very different game.

The Spriggan was a real champ this game, taking out Rowdy, the Charger and over half the Gunmages. Strakhov came into his own late-game, pushing people around and sprinting back and forth. The Cutthroats finally had a chance to shine, hunting their natural prey: living models with low DEF and threat range. Still, that was 12 points that spent all game whittling down 9 points and they couldn't even kill the Journeyman, so I wouldn't exactly say that they earned their keep.

This was my first game with Reinholdt, and I'm thinking that he's really good for Strakhov. Apart from the second cloud, Strakhov often uses risky plans (casting Ram on a warjack from less than six inches away, charging himself or a jack forwards to trigger Overrun, charging a model to trigger Sprint) that leave him or an expensive warjack exposed if he fails a single roll, and quite often doesn't have enough focus left for that all-important boost. Lucky Charms can be a huge deal in these situations.

I still think Blondie is using his feat too late. He did a better job of protecting his caster this time though, and he did a good job of handling his first 35 point game. He probably should have put Blur on one of the infantry units; the Cutthroats would have had a harder time with the Stormguard if they'd had some extra defense. I think he needs to learn to use his infantry to protect his jacks, since their threat range is not great; once he swaps casters this will be a much bigger deal since he won't have as many armour buffs to rely on.