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:
Alexia & the Risen
Beanpole was running a much slower list than in recent games:
- Extoller Advocate (I think, proxied by the Extoller Soulward)
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:
- Bull snapper
Gobber bellows crew
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.