Monday, October 3, 2016

Morrow Finally Has A Beatstick

I always wanted to like Gallant, though he never really seemed worth his cost in MkII except with Constance. Still, I picked up the upgrade kit to try to put him together, oh, a very very long time ago.

Then MkIII happened, and two things changed. First, I needed a second Merc jack just to use my warjack points. Second, Gallant got better. Much better. In fact I reckon he's awesome now. So I finally assembled him. This seemed like an appropriate time for MacBain!!!! to make his MkIII debut.
- Gallant
- Mangler
- Sylyss
Nyss Hunters
Croe's Cutthroats
Aiyana & Holt
- Blaster
Kell Bailoch
Lanyssa Ryssyl
Harlan Versh
Rutger Shaw

Not exactly an optimal list. Sadly Gallant now has animosities that prevent me from bringing him with Alexia, but at least this meant I could bring Versh. Thor and Rutger are mainly in there for the points (although boosted shooting and a bit of ARM 18 was not bad to have). Beanpole brought a similar list to last time:
Lord Arbiter Hexeris
- Bronzeback
- Gladiator
- Cannoneer
- Shaman
- Agonizer
- Aptimus Marketh
Beast Handlers
Extoller Soulward

We rolled a mission with two flags and a killbox. I won the roll and chose to go first. Beanpole picked the side that didn't have a giant forest in the middle.

I couldn't deploy my battlegroup as centrally as I might have due to the forest, so they went on my right, behind my flag. Versh and Lanyssa stayed nearby to support my beasts. Nyss were in the center, with the rest a little to the left.

Beanpole put his battlegroup in the center and his Slingers facing my jacks.

The Cutthroats went on my left, where they could contest. Kell stuck with the central forest, where he would get concealment. The Bloodrunners were deployed centrally.

Round 1:
I spread everything out and advanced cautiously. Fortune went on the Cutthroats and Fail Safe on the Mangler (this way I had one high-ARM jack and one high-DEF jack, plus I figured the Mangler would probably go in first).

Beanpole put Banishing Ward on the Bronzeback, meaning I couldn't use Aiyana's Kiss or Lanyssa's Hunter's Mark on it. The Bloodrunners got Cloak of Ash and ran to engage a couple of my models. The Cannoneer moved up and shot at a Cutthroat in the forest, killing him, five Nyss Hunters, and Kell Bailoch. Geez.

Round 2:
I moved up and killed a bunch of his infantry. I think Versh killed three models himself. I tried to spread out more this turn. I spotted an opportunity to kill Marketh before he could start killing my models with Ashes to Ashes, and moved three Nyss Hunters up to take a CRA off Cylena. I needed threes to hit, and this happened:

Oh Cylena. How reliably you disappoint me. Anyway, Rutger ran around to the far left to try to start shooting stuff with his hand cannon next turn. A&H hid behind the forest. MacBain!!!! moved up to base the flag this turn; I wouldn't score, but it would force Beanpole to contest.

Beanpole moved up his beasts cautiously, making sure to stay out of range of my jacks, and cast Ashes to Ashes on a a Cutthroat in the left forest, killing Aiyana and Holt. More spells and shooting took out a lot of the rest of my infantry, including Rutger (who had yet to fire a shot). Hexeris got on his flag to score a point.

Round 3:
I couldn't use Hunters Mark on the Bronzeback, but the Cannoneer was close enough that if I charged him I would be in range of the Bronzeback, and with Purgation average dice would be almost enough to kill it. I figured I could potentially put a bit of damage on it first with Versh and a boosted Take Aim!-ed spray from the bunny, so I went for it.

After landing the Hunter's Mark on the Cannoneer to make sure a single bad roll didn't ruin everything after the plan was already in motion, I started clearing out the intervening models. This meant activating the Cutthroats to get one out of the way. Who I promptly walked into a perfect position for the Bronzeback to counter-charge and move out of Gallant's threat range. Sigh.

So much for that plan. Oh well. The Blaster walked over and shot Marketh and the Cannoneer, killing Marketh but doing nothing to the Titan. It then used the Reposition to nuzzle up to the Bronzeback.

Versh cleared the path, and Gallant charged the gun-slinging elephant. I didn't benefiting from Purgation so I was swinging at P+S 16 due to the Agonizer. This meant I needed to use Jackhammer to finish the job, but luckily I still had just enough focus left afterwards to cast Fail Safe on Gallant. I hoped this would be enough to keep him safe, as I didn't think he could get the Bronzeback around the Blaster and I figured the Gladiator was unlikely to kill a DEF 13 ARM 21 warjack that didn't suffer from crippled systems.

The Cutthroats stood back with the expectation that I would be sending them in one at a time to contest after the Blaster died. I finally scored a point.

The Gladiator walked over the wall and boosted a double-handed throw, chucking Gallant at the Blaster. The Bronzeback then walked around and beat the now knocked-down symbol of Morrowan faith into scrap metal. Luckily poor rolls meant he didn't have the Fury left to attack the Blaster, so at least I was still contesting. Meanwhile the rest of Beanpole's army killed Versh, Lanyssa, Sylyss, and put some damage on MacBain!!!!.

Round 4:
I completely screwed up my plans here. I loaded up the Mangler thinking I might send it at the Gladiator (I could get to him in such a way that a Rush-less Bronzeback would not be able to reach him) or the Shaman. But then realised that if I attacked the Gladiator there would be nothing protecting MacBain!!!! from the Shaman, and if I sent it at the Shaman it would just get killed by Titans. So it basically did nothing and wasted my focus.

The Cutthroats (still under Fortune) and Nyss Hunters just managed to shoot the Agonzier to death, while MacBain!!!! missed two boosted Handcannon shots against a single Slinger, meaning I couldn't clear the flag to score or even re-cast Fail Safe. The Mangler made sure it was out of charging threat ranges, which actually meant it wasn't blocking the Shaman from reaching MacBain!!!!, so basically I did everything wrong for no reason.

The Gladiator frenzied and killed a Paingiver. The Bronzeback did not frenzy and sat there with four Fury. The Paingivers pulled a bunch of it off though, and he killed the Blaster. The Shaman knocked MacBain!!!! down to about six boxes I think. I lost more infantry, leaving me with only Croe. Beanpole moved Hexeris off the flag just to make sure the Mangler couldn't reach him, meaning at least he didn't score.

Round 5:
I figured I would move the Mangler forwards with Energizer, kill the Shaman with Jackhammer, then move to safety. The Mangler missed three out of four Jackhammer attacks. I gave up.

That Bronzeback counter-charge screws up my plans so often you'd think I would learn to remember that he has it eventually, but nope! I probably should have just sent the Mangler in the turn after that (at least after managing to kill the Agonizer) and found some other way to protect MacBain!!!! (maybe just camped Focus and hoped for the best). Alternately I could have recast Fail Safe, gone for the Shaman, relied on the Blaster to block the Bronzeback again, and hoped that the Gladiator couldn't kill an ARM 21 warjack. I guess I was a little tilted at that point because I played quite poorly that turn.

Although I wasn't playing too well anyway. Keeping the Cutthroats and Nyss Hunters back rather than running forwards and jamming him off the flags was not very smart (and more cagey than I've tended to play recently). I basically lost most of my army without doing anything, because everything was too far back to do much work, then it died.

I probably should have commit the Cutthroats to gunning down the Agonizer, even if it cost the whole unit. At the very least having them all around his flag and his Paingivers, rather than hanging out on my side not doing anything at all, would have given him a little trouble.

Beanpole really used Banishing Ward effectively, cutting down my threat range while also denying me my damage buff. Luckily this meant Gallant was still a threat. I wish I could have sent the Mangler at the Cannoneer instead, but once you've allocated focus you're locked in unfortunately (plus I activated the Mangler before the Cutthroats, so I couldn't even just rely on Jackhammer at that point). Perhaps I should consider Ragman instead of A&H, though he would have just been killed by Ashes same as everyone else.

I didn't really bring any spot removal in this list (other than normal unboosted shooting). Obviously I have options, but I'm quite tempted to bring Rocinante for some boosted shooting on a good beatstick. I'm not sure I'd bring him instead of the Mangler (the moment I don't bring that Chain Weapon I'm sure I'll find myself facing Tibbers), so I guess the question is what to swap him for. Well, Rutger obviously, but what else?

I think I'm getting slower at this game. Maybe it's because I'm getting better at seeing threats and options, so it takes me longer to work through them all in my head? I dunno. I should probably started playing with a clock; I don't like the added pressure or the idea of a game suddenly being cut-short, but maybe it would be good for learning?

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