Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hoisted By My Own Petard

I had a rare chance to play against Blondie, but unfortunately he didn't have his army with him. So I put together two 35 point lists from my Khador and Mercs. I gave him the Butcher, who I figured is the easiest of my casters to get the hang of:
Butcher I
- Kodiak
- Devastator
- Sylyss
Croe's Cutthroats
- Valachev
Kayazy Eliminators
Alexia & the Risen
Widowmaker Marksman
Kell Bailoch

The two biggest problems I've had with the Butcher are his lack of speed buffs for his jacks and his inability to hand out Pathfinder. So I picked the Kodiak for Pathfinder, and the Devastator, because it can afford to be slow. Then I tried to pick shooty models since I figured that would match Blondie's playstyle. I gave him Alexia and the Eliminators as they are just fun units. For myself I decided to take the chance to play the Hoff:
- Torch
- Wardog
MOW Kovnik
- Berserker
Nyss Hunters
Harlan Versh
Koldun Lord

This was an opportunity for me to pull out some models that don't get much play time anymore, like the MOW Kovnik and Torch. Thor is in there because I had a couple of points left and no other solos. OK, yes, I could have taken mechanics or something, but why would I do that?

I remembered the terrain this time, but forgot the gaming mat. Sigh. We made do by taping the zone markers at the corners of the 4' play area. We picked the mission with two round zones. I won the roll and chose to go first.

Nothing special happening on my side. I put Strakhov on the right so he could potentially hang out in the forest for protection.

Blondie spread out a bit, putting Butcher in the middle, Alexia on the far right, the Eliminators on the left, the Kodiak behind the forest and the Devastator balancing him out on the other side. The Cutthroats went in the center, Kell stood in the forest where he could get Stealth, with the Widowmaker behind the wall.
Forest and a wall on each side, a hill in the center.

Round 1:
I ran my models up and spread out. Superiority went on Torch (obviously) and Occultation on the Kovnik. Strakhov stood in the forest.

His forces advanced. The snipers and Cutthroats took out half the Nyss. He toed both zones even though he didn't have to worry about them yet. Fury went on the Devastator and Iron Flesh on the Cutthroats.

Round 2:
I lost more Nyss Hunters than I had expected last turn. Unfortunately for me he was still out of range of most my models; it's possible that my some of the Nyss Hunters might have been able to walk into the 5" range where I could actually shoot at his models, but it would only have been two or three of them at most, shooting at DEF 16 models; I decided I had best run forwards to jam instead. So the Nyss Hunters ran to engage the Cutthroats.

For some reason I decided to try to put some damage on the Demolisher, so I moved Strakhov up and feated. I cast Overrun on Torch in the hopes that I could use it to move Strakhov backwards, but I failed to kill the Cutthroat in front of the Devastator so I had to use to move Torch into engagement instead. This left me running all my support models around Strakhov to try to protect him from the Eliminators. The Kovnik and Berserker took advantage of the feat to close the distance with Blondie's lines.

Meanwhile, filled with righteous fury, Kell gunned down four of Alexia's foul undead servants.
Kell is actually out of frame, on the bottom right.

Butcher popped his feat and charged Torch, taking out almost half his boxes with a single hit. The Devastator then finished him off with his initials, leaving him sitting on 3 focus with nothing to use it on (I suggested he use it to attack the nearby Cutthroats, but Blondie wasn't convinced...).

The Cutthroats then used Zephyr to disengage from the Nyss Hunters (why did I run to engage again? I should know what Valachev does!) and shot a couple down, with Croe himself cutting down the Kovnik with the exact damage roll needed. The Kodiak used his Vent Steam to kill two more Nyss Hunters. Three Risen charged Versh and clawed him to the ground. The Eliminators and the Widowmaker took down Strakhov's screen.

The Eliminators scored the left zone, and the Kodiak scored the right, bringing Blondie to two points.

Round 3:
Well, I had just lost most of my army; all I had left was Strakhov, the autonomous Berserker, and a single brave Nyss Hunter. But I still had a small chance to win.

The Nyss Hunter killed the Cutthroat in front of the Butcher, and the Berserker charged him. Needing 9's he whiffed both his initial attack. Oh well, it was worth a try.

I still had a chance to score my zone for one point though, if Strakhov could kill the four models in the zone. I figured I could kill the Eliminators with a Rift (which would also help keep Strakhov safe), then hopefully the two Cutthroats with shooting attacks. Sadly it took two Rifts to kill the Eliminators, and without any focus Strakhov couldn't hit the Cutthroats even though he aimed.

So Blondie scored another two points, bringing him to four.

The Kodiak attacked the Berserker in the back; he used his chain attack to knock down the Berserker, and finished it off with the Butcher. Something killed the last Nyss Hunter. The Alexia, the Marksman, and the Cutthroats all shot at the zero-camp Strkahov, but only managed to do a few boxes to him.

Finally Blondie scored another two points, bringing him to six points and winning him the game.

Well, at least Strakhov survived, right? Even if nothing else did... seriously, I was not expecting my army to get wiped out so easily. Eh, I guess that's just what the Butcher does, right?

In hindsight, I can see a lot of mistakes I made. I should have put Occultation on the Nyss Hunters; I was worried about poisoned weapons killing the Kovnik and depended on their good DEF to keep them safe, but with aiming snipers and Cutthroats on the other side that wasn't good enough. Meanwhile I wasted my most accurate model - Torch with Superiority - on the ARM 25 Devastator. I probably should have just ignored the Devastator; Strakhov probably could have kept him locked down with Rift or something, and left Torch to occupy the Cutthroats, or tried to get him into Butcher.

Thematic though it may have been, Holt was wasted on Risen. Well, with Stealth on everything else he wasn't going to do very much before getting killed no matter what. Still, he killed four models in one turn, that's pretty cool. The Kovnik's death was rather sad; if I had just left him out and taken the Berserker on Strakhov then I might have had a better chance of taking out Butcher in the end, seeing as I would have been able to allocate focus to the Berserker and cast Superiority on it.

Perhaps I should have tried to put up a bit of a cloud wall in the early turns, with Reinholdt for the second Cinder Bomb and Torch's own smoke bomb? It would have meant moving very slowly, but against a stealthy shooting army that might have been the right way to go.

Anyway, Blondie played a good game, quickly getting the hang of the different model's strengths and using them to good effect. I don't think he needed to get Butcher involved the way he did, but I imagine it was fun for him since I don't think he's had a chance to play with a heavy hitter like Butcher before.

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