Friday, February 24, 2012

The Second Caster Dilemma, pt 2 - Mohsar

So, after the last game against Tyrant Grexeris, it's abundantly clear that pKrueger has one hell of a hard time against multi-wound infantry. Lesson learned. Painfully.

After a little thinking, I'm going to add eKrueger into the list of casters to try out as a second caster opposite pBaldur: his spells will mesh VERY well with the druids, and I like his feat much more.

But anyway, moving on to part 2 -- Mohsar.

- Fury 8 (!)
- Maltreatment gives him effective Fury 9 (!!!)
- Difficult to pin down (Sands of Fate, Circular Vision, Eyeless Sight)
- Absolutely fantastic spell list
- Useful infantry-clearing spray
- Lots of board control abilities

- Durability of a newborn kitten: he will require dedicated protection
- So-So Feat: crippling vs Hordes, useless vs Warmachine
- Resource-heavy spells/abilities (Maltreatment/Sands of Fate)

Overall, Mohsar seems like a warlock that will flat out ignore a lot of the usual difficulties when it comes to placement, line of sight, and intervening-model issues, all while speeding up his army something fierce and making a mockery of his opponent's advance. He's got plenty of tricks to deal with light infantry (Dust Howler, Crevasse), some things to deal with heavy infantry (Curse of Shadows), and a multitude of shenanigans to help his own or hinder his enemy's warjacks/beasts (Sunhammer, Curse of Shadows, Pillars of Salt for Slamming/blocking, his feat, etc.). Honestly it was a bit difficult coming up with cons for him, as everything he's apparently "bad" at (assassinating warlocks/casters himself, moving quickly, standing up to anything more powerful than a small gust of wind) are easily compensated for by his fantastic spell list and board control abilities. Poor SPD? Teleport with Sands of Fate. Weak stats vis-a-vis assasination runs? Ignore them and boost the living daylights out of it. Vulnerable as a wet paper bag in a blender? Hit or Miss feat? Crotchety looking model? Who cares, he can have 9 Fury a turn! 9, for god's sake!

One thing I'm looking forward to with Mohsar is that there is little reason not to take a Gnarlhorn Satyr - I love the model, but have not been able to fit him in my previous lists due to it being a little pillow-fisted.  Mohsar is uniquely suited to run the satyr in my opinion, as Pillar of Salt provides him with nice targets to slam models into for additional damage, Mirage lets him get better charge lanes to do it, and Curse of Shadows negates the pillow-fisted disadvantage quite a bit.

A Geomancer will also be nice to have with Crevasse, Curse of Shadows, and Mirage -- Megalith's healing ability is an automatic go-to ability for maltreatment, so he's in regardless of cost; plus he'll help the Gnarlhorn against heavies.

I'm also going to field a unit of Wolves or Orboros with him whenever possible - they're the best targets Circle has for Sands of Fate, cheap tarpit/throwaway models are kinda nice to have, and lastly I already own the models (so why not?).

Lastly, I'm going to try out a Gorax - it seems like it'll work terrifyingly well with Maltreatment, and I feel the need to get over my dislike for the model itself since he seems like such a precocious little scamp.

After a bit of trimming, here's the 35pt list:

Mohsar 35pt
Mohsar the Desertwalker (*5pts)
* Gorax (4pts)
* Gnarlhorn Satyr (8pts)
* Megalith (11pts)
Druids of Orboros (Leader and 5 Grunts) (7pts)
* Druid of Orboros Overseer (2pts)
Wolves of Orboros (Leader and 5 Grunts) (4pts)
Blackclad Wayfarer (2pts)
Druid Wilder (2pts)

Boosting up to 50pts, I first want to expand the Wolves of Orboros to a full unit, and add in their UA for that phenomenal mini-feat.  I also want yet another beast in this list (effective 9 fury! 9!); I'd originally thought about the Warpwolf Stalker, but he's a bit too fragile for the way I play, and I've got enough tricks already that some of his are just redundant.  Instead, I'm going to try out the Feral - I like the look of the plastic model, and from all accounts it's more of a heavy wrecker than the Stalker, and that's really what I want in this case.

Finally, I'm adding in shifting stones - I didn't add them to the 35pt list as I feel they always just get underfoot, but with 4 warbeasts their utility is definitely undeniable.

Mohsar 50pt
Mohsar the Desertwalker (*5pts)
* Gorax (4pts)
* Feral Warpwolf (9pts)
* Gnarlhorn Satyr (8pts)
* Megalith (11pts)
Druids of Orboros (Leader and 5 Grunts) (7pts)
* Druid of Orboros Overseer (2pts)
Shifting Stones (2pts)
Wolves of Orboros (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
* Wolf of Orboros Officer & Standard (2pts)
Blackclad Wayfarer (2pts)
Druid Wilder (2pts)

I like this list; I'm finally comfortable with the amount of anti-ARM available, and the model count is much closer to what I'm used to with Khador. There's something about having a unit of cheap, disposable infantry to throw under the bus at a moment's notice without a second thought that puts me more at ease with the list itself.

I'm going to try either the 50pt Mohsar or pBaldur list tonight in a game against Tyrant Grexeris, and hopefully teach his annoying little elephants who's boss.

Monday, February 20, 2012

35pt Krueger battle vs Tyrant Grexeris - The Reckonering

This is about a week later (whoops), but last week I got a rematch in against everyone's favorite Skorne player, Tyrant Grexeris.  It proved to be a pretty quick game, and I've been procrastinating about posting the report.

Tyrant Grexeris' List:
Tyrant Xerxis (*5pts)
* Titan Cannoneer (9pts)
* Titan Gladiator (8pts)
Cataphract Cetrati (Leader and 5 Grunts) (11pts)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Venators Reivers (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
Ancestral Guardian (3pts)
Extoler Soulward (2pts)

My List:
Krueger the Stormwrath (*5pts)
* Woldwatcher (5pts)
* Megalith (11pts)
* Warpwolf Stalker (10pts)
Druids of Orboros (Leader and 5 Grunts) (7pts)
* Druid of Orboros Overseer (2pts)
Shifting Stones (2pts)
* Stone keeper (1pts)
Blackclad Wayfarer (2pts)

Pre-Game Thoughts:
 - 2 Heavies are going to be a much harder nut to crack, especially since one is a Gladiator... uh oh.
 - I've got to watch out for that Ancestral Guardian - my crafty opponent has no qualms against throwing a few venators under the bus to boost it's effectiveness.
 - That main bundle of cetrati and Xerxis is going to be a big problem.

Brief summaries here, as it's a little too foggy in my brain for more concise descriptions.
Turns 1:
We both advanced forward, titans on my right (on a hill) backed up by paingivers opposite my beasts, and the block of his other stuff behind a forest to my left with druids opposite them.

Chain Lightning through Megalith onto the Cannoneer managed to destroy a good chunk of the paingivers, and nearly took out the Extoler Soulward to boot.

Turn 2:
Poor placement on my part saw the gladiator (thanks to some speed boosts) charge up and destroy Megalith at the beginning of the turn (!!!) and the Cannoneer barely missing the woldwatcher. The rest of his line sauntered foward, but were taking their time.

I placed the druids poorly, being out of range of just about everything (moved the Ancestral Guardian around a little, but not much besides) but just in range of potential counter attack. The Warpwolf Stalker managed to damage the Gladiator a little bit, but only knocked out one aspect.

Turn 3:
Xerxis popped his feat, allowing the Gladiator (after some healing) to lay absolute waste to the warpwolf, eventually laying it low with the help of the Ancestral Guardian. The cannoneer destroyed half the druid unit with a single (lucky) shot, and Xerxis popped his feat to ensure any potential counter attack would pretty much fail miserably.

At this point, I conceded - I had nothing left that had much hope of dealing with high ARM, and he had a lot left that was chock full of it and in a good position to get kill Krueger unless I backpedaled pretty fast.

Post-Game Thoughts:
 - Krueger's infantry killing prowess clearly fails him against heavy infantry, and I did not include much in this list that can make up for it.
 - In retrospect, I should have sent the Stalker after the Cetrati block - berserk and P+S 17 would have had a good chance of mowing through them on anything but a feat turn. Oh well.
 - This I should have realized much sooner, but Circle beasts clearly cannot go toe-to-toe with enemy heavies: another holdover from my Khador days I need to work past.

I'm definitely going to stick with pBaldur for upcoming games, and look a little closer at eKrueger as a possible second caster.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Second Caster Dilemma, pt 1 - pKrueger

Since I've got my pBaldur list pretty much finished (barring minor tinkering), I need to take the next step in expanding my army and choose a second caster.  I want a caster who can use most/all of the models that I already have, as that cuts down on painting dramatically and lets me fit everything onto the same display board for taking it to tournaments.

Based on the pBaldur list, and taking into account the other models that I currently own or plan on purchasing, I've narrowed it down to 3 warlocks -- eBaldur, pKrueger or Mohsar.  

I'm tossing out eBaldur off the bat - I quite like him and he works with virtually the same models, but he's a bit too similar to pBaldur in his playstyle.  If anything, I'd take him instead of pBaldur, not with.

This leaves me with pKrueger and Mohsar.  The best way to narrow this down is to make lists for each of them, and compare it from there.  First up, pKrueger.

- Fury 7
- Arguably the best Geomancy spell (Chain Lightning)
- Clears infantry like no one's business
- Decent control feat; good, but not great.
- Great ranged defenses for army (Deflection)
- All around good spell list

- Not that great against high ARM
- Nothing to support beasts
- Vulnerable, as he plays pretty far forward
- Enemies with immune: electricity = problem
- Lots of mid-high cost spells, and only 1 upkeep-able

pKrueger seems like a very mixed bag to me - on the one hand, he's got an amazing spell list, plenty of tricks with his attacks (including sustained attack on the spear! whoo!), and he is absolute death to infantry armies all by himself. The downside to this is that he needs to play pretty far forward for his spells to work (not the greatest, if you consider that he's not the hardiest warlock), he's got nothing to help against high armor, and he gives absolutely nothing to warbeasts besides some great spells for Woldwardens to Geomancy.

Still, for the sheer terror of his infantry killing goodness, that's not a bad trade off at all. The one thing that is abundantly clear is that he's going to need one of Circle's few dedicated high-ARM killers -- a Warpwolf.  After a bit of research, I think a Warpwolf Stalker is going to be a better fit - it has pathfinder, I really like the option of either Prowl of Berserk over the Feral's speed or armor bonuses, and that sword just looks awesome. (for a certain person reading this - yes, after all my whining and complaining about Warpwolves, I'm getting one. I justify this by saying that the new plastic models looks too amazing not to get one).

No Krueger list seems complete without at least one Woldwarden, and there's really no reason not to bump him up to Megalith for those extra 2 pts. I'm also going to add in a Woldwatcher over a Woldwyrd to give a bit more protection to pKrueger. Lets toss in the Druids + overseer, the Shifting Stones + Stone Keeper, and Blackclad, since the combination of those 3 units/solos are really the core of my army in most lists, and I like the way they work.

Krueger 35pts
Krueger the Stormwrath (*5pts)
* Woldwatcher (5pts)
* Megalith (11pts)
* Warpwolf Stalker (10pts)
Druids of Orboros (Leader and 5 Grunts) (7pts)
* Druid of Orboros Overseer (2pts)
Shifting Stones (2pts)
* Stone keeper (1pts)
Blackclad Wayfarer (2pts)

I'm kinda liking this list; it's got bit more punch than the Baldur list, and between Krueger, geomancy, the Druids, and the Stalker it can really lay the hurt on infantry armies. At this point, the only thing I might change would be switching the woldwatcher for a woldwyrd, but we'll see how this works first -- hopefully in a rematch later today against my old nemesis, Tyrant Grexeris!

In the meantime, lets theorize as to what this might look like at the 50pt level.  I'd keep the 35pt list as a good core; to add to it, I think I want to include the following:
1. a unit of bullet catchersfoddermeat shields, hardy infantry (there we go...) to help claim objectives and provide some screening
2. another beast, and...
3.a Druid Wilder to help deal with fury.

Since I've already got the models, I'm going to take a unit of Wolves of Orboros + UA for the screening unit - this works especially well with Krueger, since he can give them lightning tendrils to deal more damage to enemy infantry and protect themselves from his lightning bolts, and their ranked attacks ability allows them to screen him effectively without diminishing his effectiveness.

This leaves me with 7pts left - that's a bit problematic, as I'd still like to fit in a heavy and the Druid Wilder. I've got a few options here, but the one I think I'll go with is to drop the woldwatcher; grab a Gnarlhorn satyr (mainly for guard duty, it's awesome animus, and some great slam potential); and take both a Wilder and another 2pt solo - I was thinking of just getting another black clad, however Lanyssa Ryssyll does much the same thing, but with a more interesting (and Baldur's-feat-like) ability.

Here's the list:

pKrueger 50pts
Krueger the Stormwrath (*5pts)
* Gnarlhorn Satyr (8pts)
* Megalith (11pts)
* Warpwolf Stalker (10pts)
Druids of Orboros (Leader and 5 Grunts) (7pts)
* Druid of Orboros Overseer (2pts)
Shifting Stones (2pts)
* Stone keeper (1pts)
Wolves of Orboros (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
* Wolf of Orboros Officer & Standard (2pts)
Blackclad Wayfarer (2pts)
Druid Wilder (2pts)
Lanyssa Ryssyll, Nyss Sorceress (2pts)

I'm really liking this list as well; I feel less wary about taking  the Gnarlhorn since I have both Megalith and the Stalker to deal with high ARM, and his animus is just fantastic combined with the Wilder. The ludicrous amount of movement tricks I can give a warbeast (in ideal situations, of course) is just mind boggling. This is going to take some getting used to.... We'll see if I can get a few games in this weekend.

Stay tuned for battle reports!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

35pt battle vs. Mercs (McBain)

Sunday saw the 2nd official fielding of the Circle Army, as I faced up against my merc-playing friend -- lets call him McBen.

My list:
35pt Circle Orboros
Baldur the Stonecleaver (*6pts)
* Woldwyrd (5pts)
* Megalith (11pts)
* Woldguardian (9pts)
Druids of Orboros (Leader and 5 Grunts) (7pts)
* Druid of Orboros Overseer (2pts)
Sentry Stone (Leader and 3 Manikins) (3pts)
Shifting Stones (2pts)
Blackclad Wayfarer (2pts)

McBen's list:
35pt Mercenary Army (Four Star Syndicate)
Drake MacBain (*6pts)
* Buccaneer (3pts)
* Nomad (6pts)
* Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker (2pts)
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt (4pts)
Steelhead Halberdiers (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
Steelhead Heavy Cavalry (Leader and 2 Grunts) (6pts)
Alexia, Mistress of the Witchfire (4pts)
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution (3pts)
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist (2pts)
Ogrun Bokur (3pts) (Client: Alexia)
Saxon Orrik (2pts)

We rolled a pretty standard capture scenario (I forget which one), and all but proceeded to ignore it for most of the game. Fairly standard battlefield, with small forests and hills strewn about - not necessarily packed tight, but no real distinguishing features either. Notably, there were two nice forests pretty close to the middle of the board and offset one closer to each deployment zone.  I won the roll and had McBen go first; he deployed both Steelheads on my left with Saxon, Drake and company holding up the middle with Aiyana/Holt, Gorman, and Sylys, and finally Eiryss, the Bokur and Alexia further out on the right.

I put the Druids just left of the middle to make an early run into the forest to block him winning by scenario, with Baldur and Megalith to the right of them (straight across from his jacks/caster), and the blackclad just right of them.  The Sentry Stone went just a little in the forest 20" up, the shifting stones advanced deployed surrounded the Woldguardian up and to the right of Baldur, and the Wyrd took up a position across from Alexia and Eiryss.

Pre-Game Thoughts:
 - There's a lot more enemy bodies on the field than I would like, and all of them are quite fast...
 - Between Saxon giving pathfinder and Drake's feat, it's going to be difficult to either kill or bog them down before they hit my squishy druids.
 - The Druids and the Woldwyrd have the potential to shine here if I use them correctly, as Alexia, Aiyana, and Drake are all spellcasters.
 - With the exception of upkeep stripping, I don't have to worry much about Eiryss bugging up my heavies this game - that's a nice change for a Khador player.

Turn 1:
McBen did a general advance - the Steelheads ran forward and spread out with the Cavalry behind them, the jacks and solos in the center advanced up the middle just enough to get them on the control zones, and Alexia, Eiryss and the Bokur moved up along my right flank. Fortune went on the Steelheads, and Failsafe on the Nomad. A manikin died to shooting, however I forget who it was that shot him.

I took a more cautious approach, already sensing that I was in danger of being surrounded in a pincer movement.  The Druids ran up behind the forest, Megalith moved up next to them, and both the woldguardian and shifting stones moved about 4 inches forward and a bit closer to megalith, with the stones keeping the heavy surrounded for easy teleportation.  The Woldwyrd moved up to another small forest on my far right, and took 2 shots (boosting to hit the first) at Alexia, but missed both times.  Baldur moved up, put down a forest smack between his jacks and my heavies, and cast solid ground. Another manikin moved a bit up and dropped another forest, effectively cutting of nearly all of his line of sight to my lines, save from the steelheads far to the left.

Turn 2:
2 Steelheads charged in at the manikin in the central woods (who I had foolishly left within 3" of the edge), and another 3 charged the front two druids (killing one), while the rest jogged forward again, angling slightly towards the center. Alexia. the Bokur, and Eiryss moved up into the woods near the woldwyrd, with Alexia taking pot shots at a shifting stone. The jacks in the center shifted around a bit (it was pretty clear he wasn't in charge range of my wolds, and would be in my charge range if he moved up at all) and the solos behind them caught up.

It was becoming painfully obvious I was being flanked in a pretty well put together pincer movement here, and that I had to do something about this now or risk being overwhelmed. Both the Woldwyrd and manikins failed to do anything due to poor rolls and very luck steelheads. Throwing caution to the wind, I moved the druids around a bit, threw up counter magic, picked off a few Steelheads with force bolts and The Devouring, and used the last two to pull his Nomad up 3 inches -- and teleported a Woldguardian right in his face. Figuring it was time to wade in, Baldur dropped a forest on himself, forest-walked up next to the steelhead in the woods, promptly failed to kill the lowly mercenary, and in a fit of vindictiveness cast Stone Skin on the Wold guardian, pop'd his feat and proceeded to sulk around for a bit.  Poor to average rolls saw the Guardian severely damage (but fail to completely destroy) the Nomad, while poor placement of druids and stones had effectively boxed in Megalith and prevented him from charging in as well and finishing off the bugger. Whoops.

Turn 3:
McBen countered by moving Aiyana up and casting kiss of Lyliss on the Woldguardian, standing the Nomad up with it's movement and taking a few wacks at the Woldguardian, and finally moving McBain up, and using his feat to make all of his solos and a good chunk of the leading edge of steelheads virtually invulnerable.  3-4 castings of Jackhammer (combined with failsafe) proved to be too much for the Woldguardian, who went down in a tumble of stones, sticks, and a sense of failure. With not much else to do, he shuffled the steelheads forward, missed Baldur a few times, and tried to take a few wacks at the Woldwyrd with Alexia (all targets for her magic abilities being under the effects of counter magic from the druids).

At first, things looked bad - I was about to be flanked by nigh-unkillable infantry, one of my heavy beasts was down and the other in a poor position, and my Warlock was smack in the middle of it. In a mad fit of inspiration, I decided the only thing that could save this situation was going mano-a-mano with my opponent.  Baldur dropped all upkeeps, cast rapid growth next to Drake, and forest walked right up next to him.

In what can only be described as a full fledged dice-mutiny, Baldur failed to even hit Drake with 2 of my 5 attacks, and didn't do enough damage to bring him to even half health.

With no way to retreat and most of my models out of reach and unable to help, I wisely conceded the game to my crafty opponent. A crushing defeat, but a fun game overall.

Post-Game Thoughts:
 - McBen played a very good game, using the forest in the center to screen the majority of his steelheads, keeping the hard-hitting solos on my right in position to bottle-up the Woldwyrd, and setting up a pretty impressive pincer maneuver that I didn't initially see. If Baldur hadn't gone for the caster-kill, failing it or not, it would have been over for me in at most another turn or two.
 - My druids continue to get underfoot at nearly every opportunity; I'm hoping this is simply because of my lack of experience with large, dedicated-ranged units. I'm pretty sure it also has something to do with this army being so very much faster than Khador, which is taking some getting used to.
 - The poor performance by the Woldguardian I'm choking up to bad dice rolls; 4 attacks at P+S 19 at a knocked down target (boosting to hit the first) should have finished just about anything off, but for the plethora of 1's and 2's I rolled.
 - I do not have a lot of models at 35 pts, and  that is really going to prove to be a problem in future games.  Even at 50 pts, I'm likely to be outnumbered by most Warmachine armies, and quite a few Hordes armies to boot.

Record So Far:
Wins - 1; Loss - 1