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.

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