I finally had a chance to put MacBain!!!! on the table again. Since we were playing at 50 points, I had to borrow a few models, this time I was given the Piper instead of the Arab... I mean instead of Saxon.
Alexia & the Z-words
Aiyana & Holt (borrowed)
The Piper (borrowed)
Beanpole brought a surprisingly support-heavy list:
-Reptile Hounds (3)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (2 min units)
I won the roll and chose to go first. Beanpole sent me over to the side of the table with the big chunk of rough terrain right in the middle. We played the scenario with the two neutral 12" round zones.
"A big chunk of rough terrain right in the middle?" I thought to myself, "No problem, I have plenty of Pathfinder!". So I naturally deployed my pathfinder units on the sides and my non-pathfinder models in the middle behind the rough terrain. Smart.
I was expecting Beanpole to go for the zone on my right with the big trench running through it in order to protect him from my shooting, so I deployed the Nyss opposite that side since they don't care about cover, and the bulk of my army opposite the left zone where I was expecting less resistance. Alexia went in the middle for corpse collection.
Beanpole deployed his Nihilators on my right, the Reptile Hounds on my left, and the rest of his forces in the middle.
The Cutthroats pretty much had to go on my left since the Nyss were on the right, but I put Kell on the far right to help with the Nihilators and the Void Spirit.
I ran fowards and tried to space out. Fortune went on the Cutthroats and Fail Safe on the Mangler, leaving me one focus for a 1" energizer. Rhupert gave the Nyss Tough.
Beanpole ran forwards, trying to use the forest defensively. He put Defender's Ward on the Nihilators, and cast Paralytic Aura with the Krea, the Shaman, and Xersis. The Void Spirit kept it's distance from Kell.
The Blasters shot at the Reptile Hounds, doing surprisingly little despite even with some boosts. Kell, Holt, the Cutthroats, and the Nyss mainly just took aimed shots, managing to kill two Reptile Hounds and kill a few Nihilators, leaving a few more knocked down. Rhupert gave the Nyss Tough again, and MacBain!!!! gave them Fortune. Alexa backed up behind the Mangler because I was scared of the Flayer Cannon and the Shaman's boostable Ghost Sight shot. Maddie ran up to base her for better collection range. Risen tried to get past the treacherous "slightly uneven ground" in front of them, but they no walk so good.
The Nihilators charged my Nyss but killed... none? I think the Flayer killed Cylena (I forgot to take a tough roll) and the Tiberion killed another? After he was done murdering my Blasters and slamming them into Cutthroats that is. The last Reptile Hound killed another Cutthroat. The Void Spirit ran to help the Nihilators contest while trying to keep some distance from Kell (I think he was trying to engage a Nyss Hunter but couldn't quite make it?). Xersis cast Inhospitable Ground.
With Inhospitable Ground up, it would be very hard to get the Mangler into Tiberion. I thought I could make it, but first I wanted to Kiss him with Aiyana, which introduced all sorts of order of activation issues because he was currently engaging both a Cutthroat and a Nyss Hunter, which would make him much harder to hit.
So I dropped Fail Safe for the Focus and placed some Risen, blocking Tiberion's line of sight to the nearby Nyss Hunter. The Nyss killed some more Nhilators. Kell killed the Void Spirit. Rhupert gave the Nyss Tough as a parting gift before he left them for someone else (Alexia, who might need Pathfinder soon). Alexia then killed the last Reptile Hound with an aimed double-boosted handcannon shot, burning the Risen engaged by Tiberion. The Cutthroats charged, killing a Paingiver and missing the Gladiator. The Cutthroat engaged by Tiberion just ran off, getting crit-slammed into Thor. Both died.
Now Alexia was finally able to Kiss Tiberion. Holt shot some Paingivers I think. Finally, the Mangler ran a painstaking 5" inches to try to reach Tiberion, but was a couple of millimeters out. So MacBain!!!! had to cast Energizer for 1 Focus, getting the Mangler into range, then cast Jackhammer four times with the last of his focus. All four attacks hit, leaving Tiberion with about 4 boxes. Not quite good enough, sadly.
I then enacted operation "make damn sure nothing can kill MacBain!!!!", moving him well back and running the last of my models into what I hoped were protective positions.
Xersis cast Inhospitable Ground and healed Tiberion for a point, a Paingiver healed him for another (restoring all aspects), then Marketh gave him Defender's Ward. Tiberion then killed the Mangler. The Krea and Gladiator killed a bunch of Cutthroats, and the unit broke. Nihilators knocked down a single Nyss Hunter. The Shaman killed another, but the Flayer Cannon missed.
The Nyss Hunters, still rocking Fortune, killed the last of the Nihilators, a Paingiver or two, and the Flayer Cannon. The Flayer Cannon's grunt was of course promoted, but Kell walked up to get into a more threatening position and killed it.
Tiberion was at DEF 17 to Aiyana's kiss (how the hell does that happen?), but she just managed to land it. Holt shot... a Paingiver? Not sure. MacBain!!!! then cycled Fortune onto Alexia, repositioned towards the right zone, and managed to knock a few boxes off Tiberion with an impressive damage roll on a double-boosted hand cannon shot. He also feated (after casting Fortune instead of before, because I am stupid), allowing him to protect the Eliminators, the last of the Cutthroats, Aiyana & Holt, Maddie, Alexia, and the only Nyss Hunter who was actually in range.
Rhupert gave Alexia Pathfinder and set up in front of MacBain!!!!. Alexia charged Tiberion, finishing him off, while the rest of the Risen set up to block lines, and also managed to knock an impressive number of boxes off the Gladiator with a crazy damage roll on a charging CMA. The Cutthroats rallied, and the Eliminators spread out a bit. I scored a point for controlling the right zone.
With most of my important models being unkillable this turn, Beanpole focussed on thinning out my Risen and contesting the right zone. The Gladiator killed the z-words in front of him, the Krea and Paingivers killed some more, and the Shaman ran to the right zone. Xersis cast Inhospitable Ground again. He might have cast Defender's Ward on Xersis?
Kell finished off the Willbreaker. Aiyana Kissed the Shaman and Holt shot it for impressive damage. MacBain!!!! cast Fortune on the Nyss then walked and Energizered over to the zone. The Nyss charged the Shaman and finished it off, the rest blocked out the zone. Croe whacked the Krea pretty hard, but the other Cutthroat whiffed. The Eliminators ran around the edges of the left zone to be annoying. I could have charged Alexia at something, but she only had a few Risen left at this point so I decided to pull her back defensively instead; Rhupert gave her Pathfinder and they ran back to shield MacBain!!!!. I scored two points for dominating.
Beanpole wasn't really going to be able to stop me from winning on scenario at this point, so his only chance was assassination. Marketh cast Fury on Xersis. Two Paingivers moved over to kill the Cutthroat, allowing the Gladiator to walk over and throw Croe at a Nyss. He rolled the hard 9 he needed to hit, but the Nyss Hunter wasn't his real target: the flying bandit crashed instead into a Risen, killing them both and giving Xersis a landing zone. The Krea paralyzed a Nyss Hunter, allowing Xersis to charge and kill him easily, Overrunning into MacBain!!!!. Xersis was rolling straight dice; with MAT 8, one initial and 5 Fury, the outcome should have been obvious.
However, at this point Beanpole's dice showed their true colours and viciously stabbed him in the back, leaving MacBain!!!! on 2 health. At the end of the turn I scored the two points I needed to win.
As soon as the game ended, Beanpole remembered that he still had his feat. Xersis had hit twice; that means the feat would have given him two more dice of damage; guaranteed to be enough to finish MacBain!!!! if he had remembered. I rolled a dice to see if MacBain!!!! would have passed his tough roll, and rolled a 1. So yeah, one silly mistake and some evil, evil dice cost Beanpole the game. Speaking of dice, mine were really good; I had some great damage rolls and I almost always got the numbers I needed when I needed them, perhaps the only exception being the failure to take out Tiberion with the Mangler (but that was always a bit of a long shot).
One thing I discovered this game is that Inhospitable Ground is just an annoying rule for everyone involved. Because it creates this invisible zone of rough terrain, it makes it really annoying to move when you're around the edges (as many of my models were). When I was moving MacBain!!!! the last time, we forgot about it, then when we remembered it created this awkward situation of trying to figure out where MacBain!!!! should be, and we ended up on a compromise that was closer to Beanpole's army than I had intended. If I had remembered earlier I might have worked around it better, possibly even using Rhupert's magic music on him rather than on Alexia. Well, I've always placed great value on Pathfinder, especially on warcasters; I love that Strakhoff has it natively, and this game just validated that.
I always seem to underestimate Xersis threat range, don't I? I love Overtake, someday I'll get a chance to use it myself.
I'm glad I was able to kill the Reptile Hounds early, but damn if they didn't absorb a lot more firepower than I expected.
The Shaman is an interesting support piece, with quite a lot of abilities. Plus a LOS-ignoring boostable gun is a valuable tool. Against my dudespam list though, Incendiarii are probably more valuable.
It's worth mentioning that I forgot to enforce Alexia's passive ability that doubles the cost of casting spells; that would have prevented Xersis from casting Inhospitable Ground, allowing MacBain!!!! to get to a safer position at the end. Speaking of which, in retrospect I shouldn't have pulled her back, I should have kept her forwards to be a nuisance. Well, I suppose I would have if I had seen the assassination coming, but if I had I would have done a lot of things differently, so never mind.
Wow, a Nyss Hunter was hit and actually survived! This has never happened before! Crazy! I'm starting to see why Rhupert is so highly regarded. Although I'm wondering if the added defense is actually better for the Nyss overall? Well, at least in this case, when my opponent didn't have any AOEs, auto-hitting effects, or accuracy buffs.
I really didn't do anything at all with the Eliminators this game. This was partly due to wanting to keep them alive in case I needed them to give MacBain!!!! the Gang bonus, and partly because Inhospitable Ground hurt them pretty badly. Hey, at least I remembered to put them on the table.
I do like MacBain!!!!'s toolbox. I think I made good use of his feat this game, it bought me a turn where Beanpole couldn't really kill anything valuable and had to just focus on Risen. Fortune isn't the most powerful spell around, but I think it was valuable this game, turning several misses into hits, helping to turn the balance of attrition in my favor. I wonder though if I was too obsessed with swapping it around? MacBain!!!! was pretty much on 0 camp all game. I can get away with that against Skorne, at least in the early turns when he's pretty safe from melee threats, but nearer to the end it might be wise to concentrate more on camping. Overall I think he's doing pretty well against Skorne so far, but realistically I think I should swap Thor's group for another warjack. I'll probably do that as soon as can put one together, which I can't really do right now as there's too much on my backlog.