Sunday, April 22, 2018

It's Been A While

It's been so long since my last game of Warmachine - around a year and a half I think - that I'm surprised I could remember how to play at all. I'm not surprised that I was playing like crap of course, but then Blondie hadn't played a game since MkII (and he was still new to the game when MkIII came out)...

I was running a Strakhov list with some premium jacks. I figured Beast 09 would be an amazing assassin, and Black Ivan would be a slightly better sentry target than a Destroyer (plus with Point Blank could prove better against infantry). This was my first time running Andrei; I gave him a Kodiak for pathfinder and power attacks. The Berserker was there to start piece trades. Reinholdt could help trigger Overrun if needed by allowing me to shoot stealth pieces or giving Strak extra shots or rerolls.
Strakhov 1
-Beast 09 (proxied by the smallest Juggernaut ever)
-Black Ivan
Andrei 1
Alexia & the Risen
Nyss Hunters

Since Sword Knights kinda got nerfed since last edition (and I had talked him into buying two units since I believed they were good chaff units back then) Blondie put together a list with his Stormguard, Gunmages, and a bunch of jacks.
Stryker 1
-Old Rowdy
-Lancer (proxied by MOW Kovnik)
Journeyman Warcaster

Since I couldn't really remember any of the Steamroller stuff, I just threw down a couple of rectangular zones and followed the rulebook for the most part: any model scores, any model contests, scoring starts on second player's second turn. I couldn't even remember the rules for choosing table sides, so when I won the roll I chose the side with more forests (for my Nyss and Strakhov) and told Blondie he could choose to go first or second. He chose second.

As usual I screwed up my deployment, putting Black Ivan too far from Strakhov for me to put Sentry on him. I positioned Strak to run behind a forest in the closer zone, but that put him quite far from the center of the table, making it really hard for him to contribute much to the game. Nyss Hunters went on the other side with Andrei, and Alexia was pretty much in the center.

Blondie put his battlegroup in the center, the Gunmages faced off against my Nyss, with the Junior and his Defender opposite Strakhov.

Round 1:
The Nyss Hunters advanced cautiously. Andrei put Redline on the Kodiak and charged forwards, the Kodiak then ran in front of him. The Risen ran forwards and spread out, with Alexia stepping out of command. Strakhov put Occultation on the Risen, Superiority on the Berserker, and walked forwards. The jacks ran forwards.

Blondie's forces advanced cautiously. Stryker put Blur on the Stormguard, Arcane Shield on the Centurion, and Snipe on the Defender. Junior put Arcane Shield on Rowdy. The Gunmages advanced and killed half my Nyss.

Round 2:
The Nyss gunned down some Gunmages, making sure to focus on the officer. The Kodiak trampled up and popped smoke to try to protect what was left of them, with Andrei hiding in a forest. The Risen walked up and spread out in front of the left zone, with Alexia running back into command. My jacks spread out in the zone, staying out of charge range of his heavies. Black Ivan took a shot at the Lancer, but it missed and scattered back over Junior. A boosted damage roll took him out, leaving the Defender inert and Rowdy without Arcane Shield. Black Ivan finally got Sentry put on him.

Blondie's Gunmages managed to kill off more of my Nyss, but whiffed an attack roll to push the Kodiak out of the zone, meaning he wouldn't be able to score this turn. The Stormguard charged the Risen, and took them all out thanks to electroleaps. Rowdy toed the right zone, the Lancer toed the left, and the Centurion moved up to the middle of the table. Stryker moved towards the inert Defender so he could reactivate it next turn, then popped his feat.

Round 3:
Ivan's Sentry shot drifted off harmlessly. My Nyss Hunters killed a couple more Gunmages. The Kodiak charged Rowdy and went for a throw, aiming to prevent Rowdy from getting any focus next turn. Rowdy did indeed end up outside of Stryker's control, but somehow managed to scatter onto the zone into the Kodiak's back arc (and in melee range no less).

Beast 09 charged the Centurion to keep it busy, killing a Stormguard grunt with the Thresher. Black Ivan killed another, triggering Overrun. The fully-loaded Berserker walked around the forest to the Lancer; boosting the two initials took out the Sentinel's cortex, but the shield knocked out the Berserker's two cortex boxes in retaliation, leaving them both brainless. Still, the Lancer could not channel as long as it was engaged and taking a free strike would be risky. I ran Reinholdt to block the Lancer's LOS to Strakhov.

The Centurion took Beast 09 down to just four boxes: his cortex and right arm...

... but then the Forgeguard finished him off, along with the Berserker (who Blondie had been chipping away at with the Destroyer and any ranged damage he could muster). Rowdy put a bit of damage on the Kodiak with his initials. The Gunmages finished off my Nyss. Lanyssa put a bit of damage on Valachev. Stryker reactivated the Defender and killed Reinholdt with an arced spell.

Round 4:
It was REALLY late and I was running out of models, so it was time for Strakhov's traditional late-game hail-Mary. After considering a couple of plans, I settled on one that would get a charging Thrall weaponmaster onto a knocked-down Stryker. Or would have, if I hadn't gotten confused and screwed it up.

Basically the idea was to drop a Risen behind the Stormguard, turn it into a Thrall, overrun Black Ivan into position to slam the Defender over Stryker, and charge in the Thrall. However, I got so obsessed with trying to kill Lanyssa (which I probably could have done without too much difficulty if I had thought things through properly, instead I kept trying to shoot her while engaged instead of just letting her kill Valachev with a free strike before shooting her). In my defense she has Crit Freeze on her melee weapon so I didn't want to take a free strike from her, but it turned out that I could get past her without taking the free strike anyway (or bulldoze her away while moving past), so it was pointless.

Anyway, I ended up putting the Thrall in the wrong place so it didn't have a charge lane to Stryker after all. So I threw Rowdy again for fun then conceded.

It was nice to get in some Warmachine again after so long. Mistakes were made, but there's nothing new there. That last assassination attempt would have been dicey at best even if the Thrall had made it, but I like the fact that Strakhov does usually have that "plan B" to fall back on.

Despite not playing for ages, Blondie actually seemed to have improved since the last time I played him; he kept his caster safe while also being aware of scenario, he used his defensive buffs effectively and timed his feat well.

Strakhov doesn't bring enough muscle to punch through Stryker's feat. The Kodiak was actually really good here because it was able to mitigate Rowdy by throwing him around. Although that might not have worked if it wasn't for the crazy lucky shot from Ivan taking out the Journeyman, which had Stryker moving away from Rowdy to try to reactivate the Defender. And while the loss of that one Arcane Shield didn't actually do anything in this game, I was spared a fair bit of damage from the Defender.

This was my first time playing Andrei. Having that Kodiak running around independently of Strakhov was useful, though I didn't play Andrei himself very well. My original plan was to keep him near Risen to use as Sucker! targets. Maybe next time I'll put Occultation on him if I'm sending him off on his own. Or maybe I'll just put it on Strakhov so he can be more active rather than spending all game hiding from that 20" RNG Defender.

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