Got a couple more games in with MacBain!!!!:
Alexia & the Risen
Lady A and Mister H
My first game was against Beanpole:
Paingiver Beast Handlers (4)
Scenario was two flags and killbox. I won the roll and chose to go first. Beanpole picked the side with the forest and rough terrain.
There was a nice forest in the middle of the table that I thought would serve my Nyss very well, so I set them up behind it. Alexia was behind them, ready to slowly contest his flag with Risen. MacBain!!!! was directly behind my flag, with the Mangler there to threaten.
He deployed the Incendiarii on my left, near his flag, and the Immortals on my right, opposite my flag. Tibbers was in the middle and the Krea was embedded in his Immortals.
I then placed the Cutthroats behind my flag, ready to run forwards and jam. Kell went on the other side out of habit; in retrospect he would have been more useful against the Immortals than against the Incendiarii.
So the very first thing I did was forget to allocate focus to the Mangler. Great start. My infantry ran forwards and spread out. Kell hugged the house for cover. Fortune went on the Cutthroats, Failsafe on the Mangler, and I used the last point of focus for Energizer. I should have ran Alexia forwards, but instead I walked and created a Thrall; the idea was to run him forwards as a tempting target to draw at least one Incendiarii shot away from my Nyss, but I forgot to activate him after creating him.
Beanpole advanced and spread out,putting Defender's Ward on the Immortals and covering a bunch of Immortals and Incendiarii with Paralytic Auras.
So... I really didn't know what to do here. I didn't think much of the Cutthroat's chances against Defenders-Warded Immortals. So I figured the best I could do right now was jam forwards. I also figured I might be able to get a couple of Nyss Hunters into Makeda, just to annoy her. So MacBain!!!! popped his feat and handed out tokens to a handful of Cutthroats and Nyss, who then proceeded to charge Beanpole's front lines. Naturally I forgot to try to clear a path to Makeda, but I don't think I would have reached her anyway so nevermind.
I killed a couple of Immortals with great dice on the Cutthroats, giving him his Vengeance moves and souls to turn Incorporeal with. So much for jamming. Kell killed another. One Nyss Hunter rolled well and killed an Incendiarii. MacBain!!!! cautiously approached the flag; I left him close enough that one or two Immortals could probably charge him, but not more than that. I created a new Thrall and ran the two over to the flag to be annoying.
Hakaar and the Immortals rolled a whole lot of low dice; between Vengeance attacks and normal ones they only killed a couple of Cutthroats and left a couple knocked down. Makeda based the flag and, along with the Incendiarii, killed my Thralls, knocked down my front line of Nyss, and set them on fire. Tiberion trampled over two unkillable Nyss to reach one that he could paste, which he did. He couldn't score this turn thanks to unkillable Nyss.
For some strange reason Tiberion appeared to be in my Mangler's charge range. He had very thoughtfully made sure he wasn't engaged by anything either, meaning Aiyana didn't have too much trouble Kissing him. Holt put some damage on him, then the Mangler charged. He killed Hakaar with the Thresher attack, but mediocre damage rolls left Tibbers on a few boxes, but that was nothing a SURPRISE THRALLPEDO TO THE BACK couldn't take care of. Bless Alexia, with her evil necromantic sword and cursed undead minions.
MacBain!!!! ran from the oncoming Immortals, who my Cutthroats basically bounced off this turn. The Nyss Hunters killed another Incendiarii. Kell bravely strode forwards to try to protect Alexia from any retribution.
Makeda surrendered the flag but feated, while the rest of Beanpole's forces killed some more of my infantry. One Immortal charged Aiyana but failed to kill her. He swapped Defender's Ward onto Makeda. Oh, and he killed Kell. Alas.
I was able to get the Mangler into Makeda, but only did a bit of damage, that I think he transferred. I wanted to start scoring this turn, so I cleared his flag and set about creating a barrier of bodies that could protect MacBain!!!!. However, when all my models on that side had finished their activations, I realised that he still had an Incendiarii left that could probably take out the whole infantry wall with a single shot, (plus Beanpole would feat back a second one), so instead of running MacBain!!!! I had to advance and take a double-boosted handcannon shot to finish it off. Aiyana tagged the engaging Immortal with her Kiss, then Holt killed one or two. With Defender's Ward gone and the armour at a more reasonable level, the Cutthroats were able to kill a few more.
I guess Beanpole was a bit desperate here, because he sent Makeda in to a hot zone to kill Alexia. Which she did. The Immortals finished off the Cutthroats with their Vengeance attacks, then they killed Aiyana but whiffed on Holt. The Krea ran over to base my flag.
So Makeda was now sitting in front of MacBain!!!!. Easily kill, right? Somehow I didn't think so; not with Defender's Ward and a couple of Blood-Quenched tokens. But I figured MacBain!!!! had reach and she didn't, meaning he could attack while keeping a few models between them. I figured I could hit her once to stop transfers then put the Mangler and Cylena into her; they would both get back-stike bonuses, so I could probably do some damage while keeping a fair camp and scoring.
It took MacBain!!!! three focus to land a single hit, that did no damage. The Mangler and Cylena did maybe a few points between them? I left MacBain!!!! on three focus, with a couple of Risen between him and the Skorne warlock.
The other Nyss Hunter shot down Marketh, who was contesting, and Holt took two aspects off the Krea (which I thought was pretty impressive). I scored two points for dominating the flag.
The Krea finally killed Holt and started to score. Makeda killed Cylena but somehow managed to leave Sylyss on one box. The Willbreaker moved in to contest the flag. The Immortals scratched the paint on the Mangler. At some point we paused the game because this happened:
That's just from a regular dice throw. How crazy is that? Anyway, Beanpole scored a point this turn.
After what happened last time I tried it, I wasn't prepared to go after Makeda, so MacBain!!!! cast Fortune on himself, walked over to the other side of the flag, and killed the Willbreaker. I body-blocked Makeda with all the infantry I had left, while the Mangler killed a couple of models with a lazy swing. Beanpole scored one point and I scored two.
Beanpole killed some more infantry and spread out his remaining forces to try to make it hard for me to clear my flag. He scored another point, bringing his total up to three.
So for some reason I forgot that the flags weren't neutral and got it into my head that the Mangler could score a point on my flag. So I loaded him up with focus, cast Energizer for three to make damned sure he had the distance, and sent him in to the Krea. He murdered it easily with his charge attack, leaving him with three focus and MacBain!!!! on zero with Makeda possibly in his back arc. Smart. Of course I didn't score anything.
Beanpole attacked MacBain!!!! with the remaining Immortals and a Paingiver, while Makeda based the flag and tried to make sure MacBain!!!! couldn't reach her. The Immortals rolled poorly and didn't do much damage. He scored a point, leaving us both at 4.
So MacBain!!!! needed to base the flag to score, but I also needed the Mangler to contest or else we'd both just go up to five points. So MacBain!!!! charged the Mangler, used Energizer to move the Mangler out of his reach then move the remaining couple of inches towards the flag. The Mangler ran over to contest. I scored the fifth point I needed to win.
I played against Blondie, who was running a similar list to last time:
Sword Knights (10)
Sword Knights (6)
We rolled the scenario with two flags and a zone with two objectives. We both picked Arcane Wonder. He won the roll and picked the side of the table with the wall and less intervening terrain, leaving me to go first.
The flag on the right looked nice and sheltered, so I prepared MacBain!!!! to go running over to it. The Nyss Hunters stood next to him, planning to use the large forest as cover from the Gunmages. The Risen went in the middle to contest stuff.
He deployed the Sword Knights in a long line, with the larger unit on my left. The Gunmages were spread out between them. Rowdy was just to the right of center, and the Defender to the left (behind the wall).
I put the Cutthroats on my left where the could contest the other flag, with one far on the right so he could get Fortuned. Kell went on the far left because... uh... I don't know.
So the very first thing I did this game, you guessed it, forgot to allocate focus to the Mangler. Sigh. Fortune on the Cutthroats, who ran up to the hill, Failsafe on the Mangler, the Nyss ran up and hid behind the forest.
Blondie ran his Sword Knights forwards in base contact. The large unit on left got Arcane Shield. The other shield went on Rowdy, and Snipe on the Defender - who killed a Cutthroat. Rowdy got into the zone, but was behind the forest.
Well, the plan was to start scoring, so I would need to keep MacBain!!!! safe. I also saw an opportunity with Alexia, but she would need to move forwards to take advantage, so she needed some protection as well. I placed the Cutthroat's corpse well forwards. MacBain!!!! feated on the Nyss and Alexia. The Nyss charged the small unit of Sword Knights and stubbornly refused to roll anything less than a 7, killing all but one.
Then I did something I'd never done before... I actually used Bushwack! The Cutthroats shot at the Sword Knights before moving back away from theGunmages. Shame they stubbornly refused to roll anything more than a 3... not really, but even with Fortune and poisoned weapons they only managed to kill a couple of Sword Knights. Kell ran in a long flanking maneuver.
Alexia advanced, moving the dead Cutthroat's corpse behind his line of Knights, while the rest of her posse formed up in front of her. She then turned the corpse into a Thrall, who had a clear charge lane at the Journeyman. One lucky attack roll and one perfect damage roll later, and I had one less warcaster to worry about this game!
Styker walked over an reactivated the Defender. The Sword Knights killed a bunch of Cutthroats. The Gunmages killed Kell, some Risen, and knocked down some Nyss Hunters.
I ran the Mangler around the forest to get to Rowdy, planning to use Jackhammer to attack him. Just one little problem: I forgot you need line of sight to cast Jackhammer, and there was a forest in the way. So instead MacBain!!!! based the flag to start scoring.
Risen and Cutthroats killed some Sword Knights, Nyss Hunters managed to shoot a couple of Gunmages. I created a new Thrall and sent him in to tie up some Gunmages.
Rowdy got three focus and attacked the Mangler, but his damage dice were poor and he only took off about half his boxes. The Gunmages killed the Thrall and punched a hole in my line of Nyss, allowing the Defender to shoot at MacBain!!!!, but he only did a few points of damage. Sword Knights continued killing Risen, then providing Alexia with corpses for replacements by killing Cutthroats. I scored a second point. Stryker used his feat.
The Mangler got three focus; a Thresher hit the object for... very little, and Old Rowdy for even less. After spending all my focus I think I did like one point of damage to Rowdy. The Nyss Hunters killed another Gunmage, but didn't do much else. Alexia burned all her Risen trying to break through the ARM on a single Sword Knight, but failed. The Cutthroats manage to kill a couple with charges though. I scored a third point.
Old Rowdy had to leave the fight in order to get around and contest the flag, running there through a hole the Gunmages made for him. Stryker shot the Mangler, leaving him Disrupted.
I put everything I had into Rowdy, but only managed to do a couple more points of damage. So MacBain!!!! abandoned the flag, running behind the forest. The Cutthroats and Alexia whiffed on the Sword Knights. Oh, after several turns of ineffective slapping at each other, a couple of Nyss Hunters finally managed to kill the last Sword Knight from the smaller unit.
Rowdy finally killed the Mangler. One Sword Knight killed another Cutthroat, while the other two died to free-strikes in order to leave Alexia un-engaged, allowing the Defender to gun her down. The Gunmages finally advanced and shot at MacBain!!!!, but couldn't break his armour.
Aiyana Kissed Blondie's objective, Holt shot it for a few points, then four Nyss Hunters charged it. Poor rolls saw three of them die before the last one finished it off, netting me a point. Croe killed the last Sword Knight, while his last Cutthroat ran over to engage a Gunmage. MacBain!!!! then charged over and killed said Gunmage, clearing the zone and dominating for two, winning me the game.
OK, so those were some long grindy games. A lot of that was my fault for being so cagey with MacBain!!!!. I keep thinking that I should have been able to go all-in on Makeda, but the DEF buff from Defender's Ward combined with the extra ARM plus one or two Blood-Quenched tokens all the time... well, the one time I did attack her I burned half my focus and did 0 damage, so... having said that, there were several turns where Makeda could have reached MacBain!!!!, but he was usually camping at least 3 and I made sure it would have cost her initials to reach him, so Beanpole apparently wasn't prepared to risk it either. Honestly though, he really should have gone for it one that turn when I left MacBain!!!! on 0 camp with his back turned to her. I guess he didn't think I'd be able to score and/or contest so he wouldn't need to?
I think my dice were fairly average; I got the real clutch rolls off, but I don't think I pulled off any really crazy rolls. Both my opponents had some pretty bad dice though; Blondie's Gunmages rolled a whole lot of 3s, and Beanpole's Immortals took about 3 times as long to kill the Cutthroats as they should have.
Aiyana and Holt are... kind of a big deal. Aiyana's Kiss can really be huge, and Holt can do a surprising amount of damage; he came respectably close to one-rounding the Krea. At this point I'm fairly sure they're a must-have for a Merc list with no other damage buffs. I need to get mine assembled.
I have decided that, from this moment forth, Alexia shall officially be known as my second warcaster. She has almost warcaster-level stats, with great survivability, great offensive power, and some crazy abilities like getting Thralls into insane places, but she's cheap and, unlike my warcaster, is basically expendable. Killing that Journeyman was a huge blow, and it was a very hard attack to protect against.
I've been thinking of trying other jacks, but every time I do I imagine trying to kill Tiberion without a chain weapon. And with Beanpole talking about just keeping Defenders Ward on Tiberion all game, I just don't see it happening. I might try taking a second jack at some point though (once I get one assembled that is), at least at 50 points.
MacBain!!!! isn't exactly proving to be a powerhouse, but he does seem to have a flexible toolbox; I don't think I've found myself in a situation where I felt like I had no options, though I do feel very dependent on getting lucky with my warjack for armour cracking. OK, Sorscha and Strakhoff won't be cracking any armour on their own (one of the things I don't like about them), but Sorscha better enables the rest of her army to crack armour and Strakhoff can use still use Ram to manage heavies to some extent. Energizer is proving to be far more valuable than I expected it to be, I wouldn't have won the first game without it.
That 6 point unit of Sword Knights held up and ground down my 10 point Cutthroats and 5 point Risen units for the whole game, even after losing Arcane Shield. Yes, Alexia got a couple of Thralls off, but still, not a bad investment.
Blondie needs to be more aware of the scenario. The problem is that right now he's having trouble keeping his warcaster alive; I believe he lost the two games before this one to surprise assassinations on Stryker. So he's responding by keeping Stryker further back. Which is fair, but unfortunately makes it hard for him to score. Perhaps he should swap the Defender for the Centurion; that would give him a very robust piece that can contest zones and crack armour; I think he'd get more use out of it than he is from the Defender's cannon.