Friday, May 1, 2015

Strak's Back!

I didn't realise until after I had finished, but Strakhov is actually the first warcaster I've painted. So to commemorate the occasion, I benched the Butcher and gave Strak-Hoff another go. And damn, did he look good on that table!

The Hoff
-Little Beast
-Sir Spriggan
Bob's Nyss Hunters (Cylena's been demoted)
Alexia & her fleshless friends
The ninja twins
A widowed Widowmaker

This was just a list I just threw together at the last minute as a modification of my previous Butcher list. The Kodiak doesn't hit hard enough under the Hoffster, so I subbed in the Spriggan. I traded Valachev for the Marksman to see if it was worth putting Sentry on him.

My opponent was trying something interesting with lots of light beasts:
Xersis I
-Cyclops Savage
-Basilisk Drake x2
-Reptile Hound x3
Incindiarii (min)
Paingiver Beast Handlers x2
Optimus Marketh

Without any front-line light infantry my Risen were going to be even more useless on the attack than usual, and I wasn't going to be picking up too many corpses, although Alexia should be able to hurt a light. Between Fury, Enrage, and his feat any one of those light warbeasts could deal a lot of damage. And Incindiarii scare my Nyss. On the plus side, no Bronzeback or Agonizer, and with only Rush I actually out-threat his beasts quite significantly.

We rolled a two-zone two-objective mission with no killbox. We both chose the Arcane Wonder; I was primarily interested in trying to keep casting Sentry, and he was probably planning to swap Fury around a lot. He won the roll and chose to go first. The table was pretty symmetrical so I chose the side of  the table that didn't require me to stand up.

He deploys centrally with the Incindiarii on my right. So I put my Nyss on the other side, which also has the advantage of some cover just outside the zone. The Eliminators are next to them, behind the house where they will be safe until I can decide where they need to go. Hoffmeister stands in the middle where he can get close to the objective for cheap casting and also has a house an wall for cover. The Spriggan stands next to him, ready to go charging down the middle. Beast has to go a little farther on account of a patch of rough terrain. Alexia goes really far away where I can run her around the house or something stupid like that. My Marksman then stands a bit forwards of Strakhov so he can receive Sentry.

Round 1:
He advances, trying to to shift his Incendiarii to my left so they can face off against the Nyss, but has trouble getting through his tightly packed brick.

I put Watcher on the Marksman and Superiority on the Spriggan, then chuck a cinder bomb that doesn't deviate much. The Spriggan runs up behind the smoke cloud where the Cyclops can't see him. Beast runs around the rough terrain. The Nyss spread out. I decide to start accumulating Thralls rather than running, so the Risen just advance 6 inches, then I forget to actually activate the new Thrall. I pull the Eliminators to the right for some reason; probably to keep them away from the Incendiarii. I figure that the Marksman is in range of the lizard-mutt and decide not to advance (I don't want it engaging him next turn), but it turns out I was wrong and he's just out, wasting a perfectly good shot.

Round 2:
He advances cautiously. The gecko-poodle advances into the zone, taking a fair bit of damage from the Marksman's sentry shot. The Incendiarii kill a Nyss. One of the Drakes gets Defender's Ward and toes the zone.

I dunno if he misjudged the distance or forgot that Strak's feat gives Pathfinder or just figured it was worth the trade, but his only heavy is in range of the Spriggan. I debate using Overrun to reach him and saving the feat, but I decide the feat is more reliable (and I get an extra dice of damage thanks to the free charge this way), so Strakhoff gives three to the Spriggan and two to Beast, then moves up and feats. I think tried to put some damage on the Titan with the riot gun but failed.

The Spriggan only just manages to put down the Gladiator. Beast charges the Drake and whiffs most of his attack rolls, only managing to connect with the fist. Alexia drops another Thrall, who moves over to try to shield Strakhoff. The Marksman also moves in front of Strak, finishing off the gila-terrior. The Eliminators charge the Drake, putting in some damage, though I waste one attack trying to side-step over to the Cyclops and not quite making melee range. I run the Nyss to try to engage the Incendiarii, but I only manage to reach one, so I hold the rest back.

Round 3:
Xersis feats, casts Fury on himself, and takes out the left half of the Spriggan's damage grid - no more, no less - with a single combo-smite. This slams the Spriggan into an Eliminator, who survives but is knocked down. The Cyclops then gets Fury and is Enraged, finishing off the Spriggan with the help of a Reptile-Hound, while the first Drake puts a respectable amount of damage on Beast and the second takes out the knocked down Eliminator and my two Thralls (he misses the other Eliminator even with boosting). The other scaly dog kills a Nyss, and the Incendiarii kill two more.
Ignore the AOE template and knockdown token.

At P+S 18, that Cyclops is a real threat, one that I want dead. So I fill Beast with focus and swap Superiority onto him. First I want to take out the near-dead Drake standing in the way. My opponent had let Defenders Ward drop (I don't remember if he wanted it somewhere else or just wanted the fury), and the Last Eliminator ("...would be a great name for a band") killed it with a single non-combo-smite damage roll thanks to a set of cars... box cars that is!

So Beast moves up and just about manages to take out the Cyclops (which is getting two extra armour thanks to Xersis feat), putting a bit of damage on the other Drake and killing a Beast-Handler with his Thresher. The Risen move up and Alexia creates another Thrall, who fails to kill an Incendiarii. The Nyss and Marskman put out a bit of damage, killing a dog-lizard.

Strakhov is toeing the zone, so I score a point for dominating my zone.

Round 4:
Xersis kills Beast. He opted to camp fury rather than try to kill the Last Eliminator. The Drake kills Alexia. The reptilian canine failed to kill the Marksman. He doesn't have very much luck against the Nyss either. I score another point for dominating.

So I have a choice now; I can try to kill Xersis with Strakhoff or I can try to start scoring. My instincts are telling me to CHARGE but my head is telling me to play for scenario. So I throw Strakhov at the Drake, killing it (only just; some bad dice were happening there) and Sprinting to safety. The remaining Risen run up to try to jam him out of the zone. I check the Marksman's stats and he's MAT 4 (in Khador? Oh, the shame!), so I tried to pull him away from the MAT 5 dog, but the freestrike killed him. Then I try to kill the mutt with a back-striking charge from Cylena (I probably should have done that first in retrospect); I need fours to hit, which I get, so I'm rolling four dice minus 4 for damage; expected damage is around 10. I do something like 3 or 4. Sigh. The rest of the Nyss kill an Incindiarii at last.

The turns ends and I score a third point for dominating my zone.

Round 5:
Xersis kills off the Risen and he runs some models into my zone, including the lizard-dog. He gets two points for dominating the zone, as Strakhov doesn't contest.

Strakhov kills Optimus Marketh with a boosted Battering Ram, then charges the Paingiver and kills it, pushing the hound out of the zone with another boosted Battering Ram (which again does very very little damage) before sprinting to safety. The Nyss also kill another Incendiarii. I score a fourth point (I think he doesn't score because I do contest on my turn?).

Round 6:
Xersis threat range is the same as his control area, 10 inches. Luckily Strakhov is just out. So instead he advances to a more central position (he has Defenders Ward and the dog still has five or six boxes to transfer to) and runs a bunch more Paingivers into the zone. The damned dog is enraged and charges Strakhov, doing about 9 damage despite it's crappy stats. He scores two more points.

His models are spread too far for me to be able to kill them all and even if I can I still don't win because you have to win by more than 1 point difference (I think), so all I can do is try to kill Xersis. He's at DEF 15 ARM 20 with about 14 boxes or so. I use Battering Ram to get the dog out of the way (and still don't kill it! Damned thing!) and charge Xersis. I roll well for attack rolls (needing 8s), but consistently roll crap for damage (even when boosting damage) and do a total of like 3 points.

This means he wins on his next turn.

It was a great game; Strakhov got to sprint around a bunch at the end which was fun. I don't think either of us had consistently bad dice, while I probably had better dice overall Strakhov refused to roll well for damage, and completely bounced off Xersis at the end. His list wasn't one of the stronger options available to Skorne, but mine wasn't exactly optimized either, I don't think he was at a disadvantage at any rate.

I pretty much wasted Alexia. I didn't get the most use out of the Nyss either, being too scared of the Incendiarii; I'm not sure how much difference Valachev would have made in that game. The Marksman did some damage to the reptile hounds but otherwise didn't contribute that much; I didn't get to cast Sentry as often as I'd hoped as even with the Arcane Wonder I usually needed my focus elsewhere.

Technically Beast did nothing that a normal Juggernaut couldn't, although in truth when rolling attack rolls against the Cyclops I rolled very low several times; I think the extra point of MAT made a big difference there. On the other hand, the Spriggan didn't end up doing anything that a Juggernaut couldn't have done better, but my main magnetised warjack is on the painting table right now, so I didn't have as many options as usual.

That reptile hound survived far longer than it should have; if I had been able to kill it earlier then I probably could have killed the rest of his contesting models and scored, though he was at four points by then which I think means it wouldn't have mattered anyway

I'm not sure if there's any single big thing I should have done differently. Perhaps I should have held back some risen to contest rather than trying to jam him out of the zone? I probably should have played the Nyss more aggressively, but I'm not actually sure that would have worked out that well (at least if he hadn't been having trouble positioning his Incendiarii), besides it didn't really turn out to be a factor in the end. Sending my Jacks after his Beasts still sounds like the right move, the problem is that with his buffs (and Marketh to stretch them even further) even his lights are major threats (and with SPD6, Reach, and Rush, they can have great threat ranges), and Xersis himself can just walk up and take out a heavy to even the odds, so I don't win that attrition battle, not with jacks I think.

Anyway, as fun as Strakhov is I don't think I can build a really good list with him for taking on Skorne, so I'm probably switching back to Butcher for a while. Still, it was surprisingly enjoyable just to look over and see some colour on my Warcaster for a change.

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