I swapped the Decimator for a Demolisher; the idea is that it's a durable piece that the opponent can't ignore for risk of being frozen, and with the bond and eSorscha's feat it should hit hard enough if needed.
Alexia & the Risen
Beanpole threw something together:
We played a simple mission with two flags. I won the roll and chose to go first. As our games tend to take a rather long time, we decided to play ten minute timed turns for a change.
I aimed the Demolisher at Beanpole's flag and Sorscha at my own. Alexia went in the center with the Risen positioned to run up ahead for a change. Nyss went on the left.
Beanpole put the Bronzeback and Incendiarii on my right, with the Gladiator and Nihilators on my left.
I decided I would rather the Cutthroats face off against the Incendiarii than the Doomreavers, so they went on my right and the Doomreavers on the left.
Saxon went on my right, so he could help the Incendiarii through a patch of rough terrain.
I ran stuff up. Cutthroats got Iron Flesh, the Demolisher used Boundless Charge for the extra inch, Sorscha used Cyclone to move up farther. The Nyss caught up with the Doomreavers but passed their leadership check.
Beanpole advanced agressively and feated, giving his army +3 DEF and Poltergeist. The Nihilators got Hollow.
I dropped Iron Flesh for the focus and so I could declare a charge with the Cutthroats, but then remembered the feat and decided to just run and jam. I made sure to engage the Bronzeback with my first move. I had very intelligently put Risen in front of Reinholdt, meaning he couldn't reach Sorscha to use Lucky Charms. Sorscha moved over to hide behind the well and froze the Nihilators. The Demolisher ran up to cover Sorscha. The Nyss killed a bunch of Nihilators, but several survived thanks to tough rolls. The Doomreavers killed a couple more, leaving just the one survivor. I ended up using my extension this turn.
|That is a big pile of souls...|
Mordikaar now had something like 16 Fury. He brought back a couple of Nihilators, then between Mordikaar, the Paingivers, and the Incendiarii, Beanpole cleared enough Cutthroats for the Bronzeback to charge and Beat-Back it's way to Sorscha. Result: dead Sorscha.
The last time I played Gru I was impressed by his fully painted army, so I put together a list that used as many of my painted Warmachine models as I could. The only one missing is the wardog, who it seems can't be in the same list as Sylyss. Perhaps the elf is alergic? I went for the Kodiak for the free run, and Destroyers and the Demolisher so I wasn't trying to charge my entire army into melee in one go. I threw the Kovnik in there at the last minute for a laugh, but didn't think to actually put a warjack on him, which I really should have done; the Demolisher wouldn't have been a bad choice. We decided to go ahead and play at 50 points.
Alexia & the Risen
Gru just brought lots of gators, but for some reason brought the Spitter instead of the Wrassler. Perhaps he was anticipating my usual infantry horde when he wrote the list.
-Bull Snapper (2)
Gatormen Posse (5)
Gatormen Posse (5)
Gatormen Posse (3)
Gobber Bellows Crew
Witch Doctor (2)
Croak Hunter (2)
We left the table as it was. I won the roll, and decided that I had better pick the side with less rough terrain in my way, so I chose sides and Gru chose to go first. No timed turns this game.
Gru put his whole army on my left, facing his flag. I think he may have deployed his advanced deployment models in his regular deployment step?
Strakhov aimed for the flag. I put the Kodiak behind the forest on my left as it was the only other model that could run through it. I put the Kovnik behind the house as I was scared of the Croak Hunters' poisoned weapons - in retrospect I should have put him near Strakhov so I could give him Occultation (assuming I could ever spare the focus). The rest of my jacks went in the middle, with everything else on the right or behind the jacks.
|The largest number of painted Warmachine models I've ever put on the table! Sad huh?|
Gru put Iron Flesh on the three-gator Posse and ran everything up. The Croak Hunters hid in the trench.
I put Superiority on the Berserker with the intention of sending it in as a "first wave". Everything ran. Alexia starting accumulating Thralls.
|And even more painted models thanks to the Thrall!|
Gru advanced cautiously and hid the bulk of his army behind swamps and clouds (well, OK, one of each), casting Spiny Growth one each of the three Iron Fleshed Gators.
I realised at this point that I had stupidly positioned my "first wave" where it couldn't attack because of the well. So I hatched a Cunning PlanTM! Strakhov gave the Berserker three focus and kept three for himself, then he advanced to shoot at the Gobbers in order to use Overrun to reposition the Berserker. Unfortunately they were too far away, so he threw a cinder bomb and a Rift instead on the off-chance that they provided some protection or something. The Berserker simply ran around the house instead, while the rest of the jacks ran or walked and shot, doing very little.
The Marksman then walked forwards and fired at the rightmost Gator. He landed the shot and rolled an amazing double 6 to perfectly one-shot the big lizard! What a champ! Alexia advanced and summoned a second Thrall.
One Bullsnapper frenzied, and took a big chunk out of the other, knocking out an aspect. Barnabus triggered his feat, knocking down several of my models. The nearest Posse charged the Kodiak, but only a few manage to reach. The Croak Hunters put a few boxes of damage on the Kovnik. The Gobbers moved up and put a cloud in front of my Berserker. He put Spiny Growth on a couple of the Iron-Fleshed unit. The rest of his army mostly just held it's ground.
I realised that my Kodiak was out of my control area and thus I wouldn't be able to shake, meaning he wouldn't be able to do anything useful this round. Neither would the Kovnik. So I hatched a Cunning PlanTM to get some use out of them.
The Berserker got three focus, the Destroyer two, then they both shook. The Kodiak and Kovnik both sacrificed their actions to stand, and moved into position. The the Destroyer slammed the Kovnik, hoping to send him over the Croak Hunters. Sadly the slam distance was an inch short. I wanted to slam the Kodiak as well, but I realised that the Destroyer was in the way, plus I probably wouldn't have range anyway. So the Demolisher just ran forwards.
The Berserker trampled over the Gobbers, boosting his attack rolls and killing them both. Hang on, the maths doesn't add up; did I forget to pay for the trample? Perhaps I used Strakhov's feat but forgot that it doesn't give free tramples, only charges and slams? Either way I guess I screwed up somewhere. Anyway, the Berseker promptly exploded and put a few boxes of damage on the min unit of Gatormen.
Black Ivan did very little with his bombard. The Marksman shot another Gatorman but did not manage a repeat performance, only doing a few boxes of damage this time. Alexia summoned a third Thrall (proxied by Reinholdt). Strakhov based the flag to score a point.
One unit of Gators charged and killed the Marksman. Revenge! The Croak Hunters finished off the fallen Kovnik. The Gators swarmed around my jacks, slowly chipping away at the Kodiak. I scored a second point.
With the Berserker dead I would be wanting to re-cast Superiority. But who would get it? Well, with the Demolisher engaged, he would pretty much have to open up now, so perhaps a couple of extra points of defense would help keep him alive. However, he was too far away from Strakhov. So I hatched a Cunning PlanTM (are you seeing a pattern yet?). Strakhov kept all his focus, moved up to cast Superiority on the Demolisher, then cast Overrun on himself and tried to gun down a Gator in order to be able to move back onto the flag. I rolled three shots, but the only unit in range had Iron Flesh so I missed them all, even with the boost.
Alexia created a fourth Thrall (proxied by a Nihilator). A pair of Thralls charged an Iron Fleshed gator and missed, while the newborn charged a regular Gator and also missed. The rest of my army then stood about flailing ineffectually.
Barnabus finally based his flag, but didn't score as my jacks were contesting. The Ironback Spitter nailed Alexia with a double-boosted loogie. If I'd had one more Risen (or the one Risen that was also in the AOE was a little farther away so I could pass damage off to it) she could have traded them to survive it, but Gru had rolled the exact damage needed to kill her, so I let her die and hung on to the Risen. The Croak Hunters hit the Koldun Lord, landing him with Corrosion, but poor damage rolls meant he survived the attack.The Gators killed three of my Thralls and kept chipping away at the jacks. I think this was the turn that the other Bullsnapper frenzied, taking a big chunk out of Barnabus.
Strakhov handed out three focus to the Destroyer and kept three. The Destroyer, using all three focus, finally managed to kill a single Gator. My flag was starting to look like a dangerous place to be, so I decided to focus on killing stuff with Strakhov. I wanted to charge him into the two Croak Hunters, but due to poor positioning I didn't have a line on the far one, so I charged the near one, killed it and Overrun into the second, but whiffed my attack. Finally Strakhov sprinted away, taking some damage from a free-strike.
The Risen simply regrouped (did you know they have CMD 3?). Ivan moved in to melee since he wasn't having much luck with his gun. The Koldun Lord lost another damage box to Corrosion.
The Gators finally managed to finish off the Kodiak. The Spitter moved in and, with the help of a couple of Gators, knocked out the open Demolisher's arms and cortex. The rightmost posse killed all but one Risen. The Thrullg disrupted Ivan.
Well, I really didn't want to move Strakhov over to my flag now. The Destroyer was the only jack left that I could allocate to; I couldn't even use the Koldun Lord to try to give Ivan focus as he died to Corrosion at the start of the turn. It occurred to me however that Barnabus was injured and on zero camp; perhaps I could put some damage on him this turn. The idea was to move Strak up, kill a gator, cast Ram at Barnabus, then sprint to a position of relative safety. It was a risky play, but the alternative was just to continue chipping away at Gators and lose the game from attrition / him scoring on my flag. So I went for it.
First I tried to free up Strakhov with the Demolisher, but a freestrike killed him. It's a shame, but at least he was out of the way. Strakhov then charged one of the Iron-Fleshed Gators (the freestrike from the Croak Hunter missed) and boosted the attack roll. The attack missed. This was a problem; I couldn't afford to just stand there, I had to try to reposition to somewhere a little safer with the sprint, so I spent the rest of Strakhov's focus trying to kill the Gator, but failed.
Sylyss ran to engage the Croak Hunter. The Destroyer killed another croc. Black Ivan took a swing and missed. The sole remaining Risen charged a Gator and missed.
Two Gators killed Strakhov. If they hadn't managed to finish it the Ironback would have.
It's a completely different experience when you're on the clock. I would say it was exciting, but also somewhat stressful of course. The added pressure meant that I didn't play very smart and made stupid mistakes, like moving Sorscha into range of the Bronzeback. I think it might be worth playing with timed turns every once in a while, but probably not with the infantry spam lists I'm currently playing, and probably with a slightly more generous time limits to start off with.
It was fun to run jack-heavy again; in fact I think this is the jack-heaviest I've ever done. Strakhov is clearly not the right caster for it though. I love using Overrun for janky little plays, and I spent all game trying and failing to pull that kind of thing. I guess the Hoff really likes easy to kill targets for triggers, and Gators are not exactly easy to kill; I think I only took out three of them the whole game.
The terrain was part of the problem; it funneled us into a rather narrow skirmish line where we couldn't get enough of our larger-based models into engagement, drawing out the game a little. Iron Flesh didn't exactly help; DEF 16 is obviously not as bad as DEF 18, but it was still enough to give me trouble.
Actually, I think both our dice were pretty poor overall. I had some good rolls early on, then he had a few at the end when he killed Strakhov (whole bunch of 8s for his attack rolls...), but for most of the match I think we were generally rolling below average (my attacks kept missing, his kept failing to do damage).
That Marksman though! Man of the match! I should have used Swift-Hunter to move him back to maximum range after his first attack though, I just forgot how fast Gators can be when charging living models.
Looking at the photos, I think Gru could have gotten that posse around the right flank a lot sooner if he'd been more agressive; with the forest in the way they could have flanked without much risk of my jacks catching them, then put pressure on my flag sooner. In hindsight, knowing now how much trouble my jacks had with his Gators, I would say that if he'd moved the main complement of Gators up faster he could have jammed me off his flag and started scoring fairly early on.