Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Selling Out

I was pretty disgusted this game to find that my opponent, who was playing Khador as usual, had bowed to peer pressure and dropped down to a single Warjack. That sellout. He should be ashamed of himself. He ran:
- Decimator
Nyss Hunters
- Valachev
Croe's Cutthroats
Alexia and the Risen
MOW Kovnik

As always I played Skorne:
Hexeris II
- Tiberius
- Drake
- Savage (bonded)
- 3 Reptile Hounds
Beast Handlers
Void Spirit
 ... and a couple more small models in the back, I forget what they were but they didn't actually do anything, so whatever.

Rectangular zone, two objectives, killbox. I think we both chose Arcane Wonder. I won the roll and chose to go second.

He put his Nyss in the middle of his deployment zone, with the Risen behind them. Strakhov was on his right, where he could go run into the forest for protection. The Decimator was on the other side, where he could potentially shoot at my objective without overextending himself.

I deployed the Nihilators behind the forest as Saxon could help them find their way through. My Savage was just past them on my left, while Hexeris and the rest of my beasts were on the right.

The Cutthroats went into the forest on my left. I put Saxon in my own forest.
Look at all those unpainted models on his side of the table. What a lazy git!

Round 1:
My opponent ran everything forwards, but somehow managed to completely screw up his plans for Strakhov. It seems he wanted to cast Sentry on Croe, which is stupid because Croe is not a Khador model so the spell can't go on him. Then he realised he had deployed the Decimator too far away to get Superiority, and casting it on him would involve staying too far back and moving away from the forest he was aiming for. Since he had activated Strak before the Croes, he couldn't even run forwards properly since they were in his way. In the end all he did was put Sentry on the Kovnik... with it's RNG 8 gun. What an idiot.

I spread my forces out and ran the Savage up to the Cutthroats, managing to get just within stealth range, allowing me to arc Ashes to Ashes onto them. I rolled a 5, meaning six Cutthroats died right off the bat. The Nihilators got Ashen Veil.

Round 2:
He threw the corpses of the Cutthroats at my front line, placing them in engagement with models that he should have been shooting at with the Nyss, who would ignore the concealment from Ashen Veil. Instead he put his Nyss' shooting into the Drake, apparently scared of it's boostable spray. Between them, a couple of Cutthroats, and a Thrallpedo, he put it down. A single Cutthroat's poison shot also put significant damage on the Savage. The Decimator (who finally received Superiority) tried to shoot at Tibbers, but was out of range. A couple of Nihilators were also killed, but all that Cylena herself managed to do was kill a Thrall. You go girl!

In my turn I put Blackspot onto a Nyss Hunter, lowering the unit's DEF to 13. I followed that up with Ashes to Ashes, rolling a 6 this time, for 7 dead Nyss Hunters! The Void Spirit charged and killed one too, but the very sight of him caused the unit to break and run. Cowardly elves. The Nihilators killed the last of the Cutthroats and a bunch of Risen, and even took the time to senseless murder an unarmed woman who was inexplicably wandering around the battlefield smoking a cigarette. The Kovnik triggered Sentry and tried to shoot at a Nihilator before it could attack Alexia, but he just ended up shooting another Risen in the back. Tibbers toed the zone, and the Savage destroyed the objective, netting me two points at the end of the turn.

Round 3:
My opponent at this point had a record twelve corpse tokens, bringing his unit of Risen up to the full twenty. He scattered them around, trying to lock down my Nihilators by surrounding them with corpses. They actually would have killed a bunch of my Nihilators if I hadn't passed like four tough rolls. Alexia killed the Savage. The Kovnik shot a knocked-down Nihilator, who passed his second tough roll, so that was pretty useless. The last of the Nyss hid behind the Decimator, who put a couple of boosted shots into the Tibberium, doing like seven damage.

My opponent had originally been planning to try to kill the void spirit with Strakhov since it was vulnerable this turn, but he stupidly put a Risen in the way, so instead he tried to gun down a Nihilator. Rolling three shots on the riot gun, he finally connected with the last shot, but the Nihilator passed it's tough roll.

In my turn, Tibbers and the Nihilators wiped out most of his Risen. My opponent, who clearly doesn't learn from his mistakes, had put Cylena and Valachev close enough for the Void Spirit to kill with a single attack, taking the Nyss off the board. Alexia was knocked down to 1 damage point. Two Reptile Hounds charged the Decimator, with the third one running to engage. Those two P+S 8 dogs, attacking the ARM 20 heavy, took off more than half it's boxes, crippling it's only melee weapon. So much for PP's rubbish claims of Khador warjacks being sturdy. Thanks to Hexeris ridiculously overpowered passive ability Vampiric Harvest, much of the damage on Tiberion was healed.

Round 4:
My opponent now had absolutely no chance of killing Tibbers, and of course he couldn't knock him out of the zone, so he had no chance of scoring. His only option was an assassination run with Strakhov. So he cleared as much of the path as he could with Risen, feated, charged and killed a Paingiver, then used Overrun to walk up to Hexeris. The thing was that he had to take a free strike from Tiberion. With full health and 4 focus the free strike shouldn't kill him, but if I rolled a crit then Strakhoff would be knocked aside and would not reach Hexeris. But what were the odds of that happening?

Yeah, I rolled a double 3 and we shook hands.

For those who didn't realise it, I'm actually the Khador player. Normally I take photos of my games from my side of the table, but this time my opponent took them from his side, so I wrote up the report from his perspective. You know, for the lols.

I'm just going to go ahead and say this: I'd been pretty busy at work and ended up taking some work home for the weekend; as a result I was feeling pretty fatigued during this game and ended up playing even worse than usual (if such a thing were possible). I honestly wasn't looking at his army or considering his threat ranges at all, I could barely even keep my own plans straight in my head; in fact my opponent had to keep stopping me from doing stupid things like trying to resolve attacks before I had finished moving a unit and crap like that. I was just really off my game.

Losing more than half of my unit of Cutthroats right off the bat really hurt. I would even go so far as to say that it put me significantly behind on attrition very early on, and I never recovered. Losing seven Nyss to that single spell pretty much hammered the nails in my coffin, and when the Decimator lost his arm with no way of fixing it, I was pretty much left with zero chance of killing Tibbers. And since he can't be moved, I wasn't going to be able to get him out of the zone either.

Not only did I run the Cutthroats so far forwards that they were in spell arcing range, he even managed to engage one with a Nihilator (and might have engaged more if they had survived). Since their job was to shoot then scoot back into the forest, they didn't need to be that far up. However, this was my first time running an advanced-deploy unit; the most I'd ever had before this was a couple of sniper solos. On top of that I'm not used to thinking about arc-nodes; I don't have any and since most of my games are against Skorne I don't face them that often either, so I didn't respect the threat range.

Clearly my opponent had great dice, rolling great on Ashes to Ashes and pulling out that crit at the end. Although, to be honest, he didn't need good dice to kill my infantry, who are all quite fragile; the only survivability that I have is mobility (which I didn't use) and the Nyss' DEF. Which I lost to Black Spot. The only thing that kept me in the game that long was Alexia. She's easily the best 5 points in my army, if not the whole game. In retrospect I think I should have "padded" my front lines of infantry with Risen, to absorb the hits from Ashes to Ashes. I'd just learned to keep them back so he can't choose where to place AOEs, now I need to learn when to put them forwards.

Even if he hadn't crit to knock Strakhov away, I would have needed amazing dice to take down Hexeris. He had 2 Fury and I would have reached him with 4 attacks; I would have had to hit all four attacks, and the two that got through would have needed to roll like 22 or something between the four dice. Of course the moment I rolled less than a 10 on my damage roll he could have let it through, and that would have been it. So yeah, I had almost no chance of success. Although if I had remembered to try to take a double-boosted shot with Alexia that might just have changed the odds.

Again Maddie died without doing anything, in pretty much exactly the same way as last time: I moved her too far forwards, allowing his Reach models to attack her past the first line of my infantry. The Kovnik got bogged down behind the faster infantry and just didn't contribute. Actually, that's pretty much what happened to Strakhov too; he ended up left behind with no line of sight to try to sling spells or take shots. I basically didn't get any use out of Superiority, Overrun, or his feat, and those are his best abilities. Just poor play on my part. I think part of the problem was that I let the spot of rough terrain in the center of my side of the table push my slower models - the Decimator and Kovnik - to the sides; I might have been able to use them more effectively if they had been positioned more centrally.

The Decimator didn't really get the chance to do much. I didn't want to put him into Tibbers without softening him up a bit first - an ARM 19 Bronzeback I would have gone for, but ARM 21? Bleh. But between standard Fury healing, Paingivers, and eHexeris ridiculous passive healing, it turns out that was a stupid idea. Then the dogs did way more damage than I expected and crippled it. Eh, I only really had one chance to get to Tibbers before I ran out of models to clear the charge lane, and I didn't take it. I still think the Decimator has potential, but I need to figure out how to make use of it. Croe's didn't get a chance either, but I'm optimistic that I can get more use out of them with smarter play.

The ease with which Warlocks can heal their Warbeasts is just a slap in the face of all Warmachine players (well, except for Convergence and possibly Cephalyx players), but that wasn't enough for PP. Paingivers being able to heal Warbeasts from a distance without even a roll, making them far better at healing that any mechanic in Warmachine is at repairing (even though fixing flesh should be harder than fixing primitive steam-powered machines), that wasn't enough for PP. No, PP decided they needed to give some Warlocks the ability to passively heal their Warbeasts. PP, I have to ask: why do you hate Warjacks with such virulent passion? Do you just enjoy abusing Warmachine players for the sense of power it gives you? You make me sad PP. Some days I look at Infinity and think: "Why am I not already playing that?"

By the way, I haven't read the fluff, so can someone explain to me PP's justification for Paingivers not only being able enrage already angry beasts that have been tortured their whole lives by striking them with whips, they can also calm them down by striking them with whips, and can even heal an animal's wounds by, you guessed it, striking it with their whips. They must be using their whips as they can do it from several inches away while Mechanics have to be in base-to-base contact to fix something. Actually, I think they can do all their stuff from three inches away, while they can only attack from two inches away, so honestly I don't know what's going on there at all. I mean, I can understand enraging them without actually touching them, like it's just the sound of the whip, but healing them? What?

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