Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Modeling Post: Cataphracts and Praetorian Swordsmen

 So as it turns out, I didn't do the tournament, but I did find the time to get started on my Cataphract Cetrati.  I think this guy is a promising start.  The face turned out really well for me, especially the shading.  One thing about these knobby Skorne heads - it's really clear what's protruding and what's recessed.  He has a little Crazy Eye, and a little Super Sneer, but I like him.

I still have a lot to do with the guy (mostly highlights, and the Shield, Spear, Shoulder Pads, and OMG Flags), but this is most likely what the unit will look like.

On to Praetorians.  I've always been a little weirded out by their poses.  Some of the ones in the gallery kind of look like they're flailing their swords around aimlessly.  When I posed mine, I tried to fix the arms so that the Swordsman's gaze would be in line with the sword itself.

I really like the effect I got with some of them...

The position on the raised arm is actually pretty close to what I learned to do in Kendo back in the day.  I'm looking forward to painting this one.

Some of my others, though, are less purposeful looking...


Don't really know what to do with the yelly ones.  I suppose they'll look pretty good all painted up.  More pics as the story unfolds.

Finally, it turns out I have approximately a bajillion cat pictures.  Here's one of them on/in their favorite piece of furniture.

I really achieved the right degree of botheredness with Pax up there.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Stuff has come up, and I won't be able to do the tournament on Saturday.


UPDATE:  My tournament status has been upgraded from "a cold day in Hell" to "a tolerably cool day this summer."

In other words, it still looks unlikely, but it's now a possibility.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Armies for the 28th, and Battle Plans

So the deciding factor in which Warlocks I ended up wanting for the tournament was actually a desire to do my Cataphract Cetrati justice, paint-wise.  I really like the unit, and I'm going to use it a lot, so I'd like it to look nice.  If I'm going to use it in the tournament, I'll have to rush the painting and assembly, and it won't look nice.  I'm going with my beast brick under pMorghoul, and a version of the pHexeris list which replaces the Cetrati with a couple more beasts.  Fortunately, Skorne beasts are great, and I'll have the Paingivers to fall back on if I want a second Death March target.  :)

Master Tormentor Morghoul (+7)
*Bronzeback Titan (10)
*Titan Cannoneer (9)
*Titan Sentry (9)
*Titan Gladiator (8)
*Cyclops Brute (5)
*Basilisk Krea (4)
*Basilisk Drake (4)

4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2)
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2)

Agonizer (2)
Extoller Soulward (2)

It's a brick, so it has a definite formation, and sort of wants to stick to it until it engages the enemy.  My teamwork scheme is:

Team 1: Titan Cannoneer, Titan Gladiator, Basilisk Krea, Extoller Soulward
Team 2: Titan Sentry, Bronzeback Titan, Cyclops Brute, Morghoul
Team 3: Paingiver Beast Handlers, Paingiver Beast Handlers
The Drake and Agonizer will be deployed as needed.

Teams 1 and 2 are essentially interchangeable blocks holding the sides of my brick.  The Sentry and Cannoneer will be my formation leaders, backed up by the Gladiator and Bronzeback.  The Cannoneer will pick off solos and flankers while running Diminish to improve her odds against melee attackers.  The Sentry will spearhead the formation with Locker.  The basic idea is to have Admonition on either of the formation leaders or the Bronzeback, and run movment shenanigans for the first wave of charges.  The brick will try to run tightly enough to catch all the Titans in the Bronzeback's Leadership aura, but it's alright if the Gladiator is sometimes out.

The Krea and, when necessary, Morghoul himself, will cast Paralytic Aura as necessary to boost up my resistance to ranged attacks.  The Krea is also decent at Def-debuffing warbeasts with her Spiritual Paralysis gun.  This application is pretty unspectacular, but I'm running enough Mat 5 beasts that I'll probably use it.  The Brute, who will nearly always be within 2" of the Krea, will take a ranged hit for one of the Titans once per turn if necessary, but will mostly be taking hits for - and casting Safeguard on - Morghoul.  Morghoul will probably be rocking Admonition after around turn 2.

The paingivers will probably spread out a little so that both units overlap with teams 1 and 2.  That way, I can spread my activation order around a little better, using whichever Beast Manipulations I need on both teams in the order I want.  This might complicate my backfield's activation order a little, but it's easier to move 2 units of 4 beast handlers than juggle the activations of 7 warbeasts to get what I want.

The Agonizer and Drake are unassigned.  The Agonizer, as usual, will hang back against Hordes, protecting my formation against warbeasts with Gnawing Pain (except against Angelii, where I'll usually forfeit the damage debuff to use Spiritual Affliction and take away Repulsion).  Against Warmachine, he'll have one turn of racing ahead of the formation, using Spiritual Affliction, then dying, but it will give Morghoul the chance to Feat offensively as well as defensively.

The Drake's main job will be to help with solo hunting and infantry clearing, although I'll keep Lurker in mind for a shoot-and-retreat with the Drake itself, the Cannoneer, or the Krea.  I could also use it on Morghoul if he's engaged by infantry.  That way, he can kill a few models, then advance 14" thanks to Bushwhack and Sprint.  If I'm feeling confident or desperate, I can do this in tandem with his feat, and walk right up next to an enemy Warcaster.

The list will essentially roll forward in a tight formation at first, then spread out as much as I need to to address my enemy's threats.  When it comes to infantry, my plan is to go through them.  With the Drake and Cannoneer clearing out the necessary spaces, I'll probably be able to find room to trample into.  High-Def infantry probably won't have the damage output to seriously threaten my beasts (probably... I had a recent run-in with some Kayazy who seemed determined to prove me wrong on that point), and I have plenty of models able to slam.  Against weapon masters, I'll probably be able to manage with Morghoul, the Drake, the Cannoneer, and Train Wreck, which I can use on multiple models.

I like the list, although I still have to assemble the Sentry, and I want to magnetize it.  I may resort to sticky tack to hold it together for the tournament, then clean it off, and magnetize it later.  I may have to do the same with my Bronzeback, who isn't fully assembled, and on whom I want to do a good job with painting.

My second list, under pHexeris, is:

Lord Tyrant Hexeris (+6) - Kingdom of Shadow Tier 1
*Bronzeback Titan (10)
*Titan Cannoneer (9)
*Titan Gladiator (8)
*Basilisk Krea (4)
*Basilisk Drake (4)
*Aptimus Marketh (3)

10 Praetorian Swordsmen (6)
*Officer and Standard Bearer (2)
6 Paingiver Beast Handlers (3)

Ancestral Guardian (3)
Agonizer (2)
Extoller Soulward (2)

This is more of a toolbox list.  Hexeris has a  large Control Area to spread out in, and between Marketh and the Tier 1 Kingdom of Shadow bonus, I'll have a lot of Fury to play with.  I also tried to build some solid answers into this list - especially answers my Morghoul list would struggle to come up with.  For example, I have the option to double up on AoE's with Obliteration and the Cannoneer, providing some crucial support against high-def infantry (I can actually triple up if I want to A: Expose Marketh by having him use Soul Slave on a living model he's likely to kill with it, and B: Expose Hexeris by casting Obliteration twice and leaving him with no Fury).  Hexeris' Dark Dominion feat gives me an answer to weapon master swarms, and Psychic Vampire really pulls the teeth (Eh?  Eh?  Ehhh...) from powerful spellcasting units like Druids, Battle Mages, and Hex Hunters.  Mostly, however, I'll rely on Hexeris' offensive versatility, and my strong lineup of beasts.

Here's the teamwork scheme:

Team 1: Titan Cannoneer, Titan Gladiator, Bronzeback Titan, Paingiver Beast Handlers
Team 2: Basilisk Krea, Basilisk Drake
Team 3: Praetorian Swordsmen, Ancestral Guardian
Team 4: Extoller Soulward, Aptimus Marketh, Hexeris
The Agonizer will be deployed as needed

Team 3 will be out front, screening and jamming for my warbeasts.  The Swordsmen will be the first wave, deceptively fast with Vengeance from Death March, and the Ancestral Guardian will naturally follow in the second line.  The AG will hunt down any solos who get into the Swordsmen, and can play bodyguard for a few of the other models with Defensive Strike.

Team 1 will follow, with the Cannoneer at point just in line with or ahead of the Ancestral Guardian, and backed by the Gladiator and Bronzeback.  The Cannoneer will start with Soul Slave, and will provide fire support for the list early on.  The Cannoneer with Soul Slave is also an assassination vector.  Its Rat is on the shabby side, but I've hit plenty of warcasters with it in the past, and Hexeris will add damage with Soulfire or Obliteration, depending on the situation.

Team 2 will usually deploy near Team 1, since I want the Krea to be able to fill the gap, and use Paralytic Aura to protect my Titans against ranged lists.  The Drake will guard the flank of my beast formation by hunting down solos, and clearing off jamming infantry.  The Krea will use the occasional Spiritual Paralysis, and take advantage of Flank where necessary.  The Krea is also an optional Soul Slave target for when both Stealth and terrain are being used against me.  If I need to sling spells at a Stealthed target through a forest or cloud, both the arc node and Hexeris need Eyeless Sight.  The Krea already has it, and Hexeris can get it from the Extoller.

Team 4 will linger just behind Team 1, depending on what I need.  Marketh is around to gather some souls from the Swordsmen to upkeep Hexeris' spells with, to cast the occasional Soulfire, and (mostly) to recast Soul Slave and Death March.  Recasting Soul Slave gives Hexeris a very broad potential arcing zone for his spells, and recasting Death March will save me 2 Fury if nothing else.  If I were running another infantry unit (like Cetrati) with this list, recasting Death March for free on them would be a crucial part of turn 3 or 4.

The Agonizer, as usual, will hang around and do its thing, either protecting the beasts, or denying focus allocation to the jacks.

The basic plan for this list is to jam early with the Swordsmen, then angle for a ranged/spell assassination with the Cannoneer/Krea, Drake and Hexeris.  I can do that while going for a scenario win.  I can run the formation several different ways in order to respond to the things my enemy is throwing at me.  My main threats are the titans, and Hexeris' offensive spells.

My reinforcements will be:

6 Venator Rievers (5)
Cyclops Savage (5)

I'm normally a little leery of warbeasts as reinforcements, but the Savage is pretty fast, and can force to run into my control area, if I time things well.  I see Venators as being pretty good for Reinforcements.  My reinforcements don't meet Hexy's Tier requirements as of now, so I might change them up.  My normal 10pt reinforcement slot would be Min Venator Rievers, their UA, and a Tyrant Commander.  Sadly, the TC is in the same boat as the Cetrati: a million fiddly little pieces, and no good way to paint them once they're attached.

I'm also a little sad that my pMakeda list isn't ready because of the Cetrati and Tyrant Commander.  She's probably my favorite Warlock, and I was looking forward to running her.  Maybe next time.

UPDATE:  It looks like I can have 2 different sets of Reinforcements, in which case, Hexy will get a Savage and a Brute.  Double beasts, and kind of sloppy, but hey, maybe there won't be any reinforcement scenarios.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Battle Report: Calandra vs eHexeris

pGrexy and I got a lovely game in this last Saturday, and I took the opportunity -- and borrowed a friend's models -- to play my Calandra list WYSIWYG. Much fun was had by all!

My List:
Calandra Truthsayer, Oracle of the Glimmerwood (*5pts)
* Troll Axer (6pts)
* Troll Impaler (5pts)
* Dire Troll Mauler (9pts)
* Trollkin Runebearer (2pts)
Trollkin Fennblades (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Trollkin Fennblade Officer & Drummer (2pts)
Fell Caller Hero (3pts)
Janissa Stonetide (3pts)
Troll Whelps (2pts)

As mentioned previously, I like this list. Calandra seems like she'll be a trick to get used to, but overall her 'roll better/roll worse' functions are pretty straightforward. I've never fought epic Hexeris before, so this should be an interesting game.

pGrexy's list:
Lord Arbiter Hexeris (*6pts)
* Cyclops Savage (5pts)
* Bronzeback Titan (10pts)
* Titan Cannoneer (9pts) (bonded to eHexy)
* Titan Gladiator (8pts)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Venators Reivers (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
Extoler Soulward (2pts)

So this is a bit different than the lists I'm used to playing against - the Bronzeback and Gladiator paired together means that if I try to kill one, I need to have the other distracted or face a dead Mauler the next turn. I also don't often face Venators, so this'll be fun on the bun!

I won the roll, and elected to go second.

From left to right (by my view), his line consisted of the Gladiator, Bronzeback, then Cannoneer in the middle of the board (right in front of a hill...hmm), Savage and eHexeris, Paingivers behind all of them, then Venators and Extoler on the right flank. The Cannoneer-on-a-hill thing was going to be a problem again, and I knew I was going to have to do something about that.

My line consisted of the Mauler on the left, Calandra, Runebearer, and the Axer behind and to the right of him, Fennblades to the right of the Mauler, and Fell Caller, Janissa, and Impaler spread out behind them. The Whelps stayed off the field, as I'm not worried about fury management in the early game.

Turn 1 - Skorne
The Titans advanced in a rough line, the Cannoneer moving ahead a bit on the hill with the Savage alongside and Paingivers behind. The Venators moved up with the Extoller behind them, giving the little devil a nice squishy meat shield. eHexy tossed a few friendly upkeeps around, and advanced next to the Cannoneer on the hill.

Turn 1 - Trollbloods
Ok, that's an imposing line of beasts. I ran the Fennblades up along the front to provide cover and had Calandra, Janissa, the Fell Caller, and the Runebearer spread out behind them. The Mauler and Axer riled a bit and ran forward, angling towards the 'titan wall', while the Impaler ran straight up into a nice concealment-granting field and prepared to start dealing damage. Calandra put up Star Crossed and Bullet Dodger on herself (for good measure).

Turn 2 - Skorne
eHexeris started the turn off with a bang by dropping Black Spot on the Fennblades and then killing one with  a channeled Hellfire through the Cannoneer - who then promptly fail their command check; this was reallllly going to hurt. The Cannoneer found herself (just barely) within Calandra's control range, and thanks to a poor roll managed to miss the front Fennblade and had it's shot scattered into uselessness. The majority of the Venators, sadly, did not suffer this crippling disadvantage, however despite some good rolls, extra shots due to Black Spot, and only a couple of tough saves they only managed to kill 4 Fennblades and knock down another 2, shutting down my entire right flank; Fennblade survivability continues to be lackluster, but it could have been far worse. The Bronzeback and Gladiator moved up a bit for a more advantageous rush and enrage powered charge-fest next turn, confident that my beasts weren't withing decent charge range (this turn at least). The Savage continued to be inconspicuous near eHexeris, waiting for his time to pounce....

Turn 2 - Trollbloods
The Fennblades stayed put and failed to much of anything interesting, but recovered from their moral disaster. The Axer put Rush on the Mauler (you know, like one does), anticipating some long-range killing. Calandra cast Star Crossed again (I cannot think of a situation where this won't happen every turn), and in a surprise move ambled forward just a bit and cast Befuddle on the Bronzeback, walking him up 3" straight forward and presenting his backside to the Mauler. Not one to look a gift horse (or elephant) in the mouth, the Mauler charged, cast Rage (+3 STR animus) on himself, and proceeded to apply his namesake to the unfortunate titan, killing it in 4 hits and a headbutt. Janissa threw down a rock wall in front of Calandra and ambled up beside her to prevent things getting around it, the Fell Caller taking up a similar position on the left side. The Impaler came up near them as well, dropped it's on Animus on itself, and hocked a spear for a respectable 5 damage on the Cannoneer.

Turn 3 - Skorne
eHexeris upkeeps Black Spot on the poor Fennblades, while the Paingivers move up and enrage both the Cannoneer, Gladiator, and Savage. The Gladiator starts the turn by Grand Slamming the Mauler smack in it's Bronzeback-killing face, throwing it back 7" into the wall in front of Calandra, and taking out half the body and a good chunk of the spirit --- but in the process spawning a whelp directly in it's way for follow up. We both stop for a moment and consider the massive utility of this; by doing damage and slamming, the Gladiator inadvertently denied it's own ability to follow up; Whelps are freaking AMAZING! Once we calmed down, the Gladiator followed up, killed the little whelp, and waited. Knowing that Mauler had to die for it's presumption (killing the Bronzeback AND blunting the Gladiator's activation?! That dog won't hunt, monsieur), the Cannoneer followed up around the now-pasted whelp and finished off the Mauler in a massive display of cannon-bludgeoning murder.

Once that was over, eHexeris decided to feat - a few animi were thrown around, and then 2 fully boosted Hellfires were sent directly at the Impaler, but due to miraculous (one would say Star Crossed...) luck, the Impaler survived in half decent condition. The Savage sprang forward (with the help of a Rush from eHexeris) to beat the crap out of the now-injured Impaler (killing it) and a Fennblade or two while the Venators continued to pincushion the remaining Fennblades into obscurity.

Turn 3 - Trollbloods
Realizing the party-sub sized pickle she was in, Calandra figured it was now or never. She feated, cast a fully boosted Force Blow to knock eHexeris down, and hoarded fury for Fate Blessed re-rolls. The army came together with surprising precision - Janissa moved up near the titans and cast Tectonic Shift, pushing both back just enough for the left-most Fennblades to get a good shot on eHexeris. The Fennblades, in a frantic desire to make themselves useful, charged eHexeris, making the best of reach to leave space for more to follow. A lucky hit or two left eHexy with only a single fury remaining and 5 hit boxes down (he knew more was coming). The Fell Caller charged in next, delivering 1 good hit and doing significant damage -- to the Cannoneer. Not wanting to be outdone, the Axer put Rush on himself and charged straight at eHexeris, barely getting in range (thanks to reach) and dealing the killing blow.

Victory to Trollsbloods!!


Calandra's feat really saved my bacon on the last turn - the sheer mass of 1s and 2s rolled (and re-rolled) was pretty amazing, and I'm pretty sure there were a couple of re-re-rolls in there from Fate Blessed as well (Calandra ended the game with no FURY and a Savage within certain-death range). I'm fairly certain this is one of the only situations where a die can be re-rolled no less than 3 times: an example that came up is that the first roll is a 1,2; re-roll to a 3,3 on Feat; re-roll again to a 2,2 on Fate Blessed for 1 Fury; feat re-rolls those again into a 4,5 -- it's a hit! I pulled a victory in this one out on the skin of my teeth, but it was a pretty fun game regardless.

One thing I'm noticing is that Calandra's abilities are both subtle and alarmingly direct, and unlike a lot of Warlocks/Warcasters, work to improve everything rather than focus on something specific. The biggest part is dice - reducing opponents rolls, re-rolling friendly model's 1s and 2s on the critical turn, and using spare fury to re-roll bad rolls. However, the other part is just direct interference - a knockdown spell (not a crit knockdown, just a flat knockdown-when-damaged spell; that's actually pretty amazing), a positioning spell to move warbeasts around, a fury-reducing spell to help out when you've over-extended, and a very good DEF boosting spell that will flat out get her out of harms way when missed. There's not a spell or ability on her card that I wouldn't use every game, against virtually every opponent.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Battle Report - pMorghoul vs Drake MacBain

I was running my beast heavy pMorghoul list at 35pts.

Master Tormentor Morghoul (+7)
*Bronzeback Titan (10)
*Titan Cannoneer (9)
*Titan Gladiator (8)
*Cyclops Brute (5)
*Basilisk Krea (4)

4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2)

Agonizer (2)
Extoller Soulward (2)

This list has a lot of hitting power, and a tough chunk of beasts.  It's pretty fast with Morghoul at the helm.  I've been getting some good experience using mainly beasts with pMorghoul, and the list is a fast, hard hitting brick with a couple good rounds of denial.  One difference from the list I've been running is the inclusion of the Brute instead of a Savage.  Morghoul can make Cyclops Savages really powerful, but he also really wants the Brute around for Safeguard and Shield Guard to keep up standing up, and to prevent too much ranged sniping.

My opponent, Ben, ran the following list.

Drake MacBain (+6)
*Nomad (6)
*Buccaneer (3)
*Sylas Wyshnallyr, the Seeker (2)

10 Kayazy Assassins (8)
*Underboss (2)
Lady Aiyanna and Master Holt (4)

Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord (2)
Saxon Orrik (2)
Gorman di Wulfe (2)
Alexia Ciannor, Mistress of the Witchfire (4)
Ogrun Bokur (3 - Client: Alexia)
Eyriss, Angel of the Retribution (3)

My main worry is the Kayazy Assassins.  Rhupert can make them Def 15 (17 in melee) with Dirge of Mists, or just give them Tough.  That much high def is a lot to chew through, and my list is not well suited to doing it.  I'll just have to hope that boosts and slams will be enough, and to try to keep my beasts flanks and rear unengaged so I can Trample over them just to get by them.

Ben won the roll off, and decided to go first.

Ben deployed across a pretty wide piece of the board, with his warjacks on my right flank, his Kayazi in the middle, and Alexia and the Bokur on my left.  The other support types went behind the Kayazi, and Drake went in next to the warjacks.

I refused my left flank entirely, deploying in a brick directly opposite MacBain.  My Titans went up front, followed by my support beasts and Morghoul.  The paingivers and Extoller went behind them, while the Agonizer deployed on my far right to oppose Ben's warjacks.

Finally, Eyriss deployed on my right.

Turn 1 - Mercenaries
Everybody ran.  The Kayazi went on the diagonal to get to my formation.  MacBain snuck in behind them.  Eiriss went in a line right down my right flank, while Alexia and the Bokur mirrored her on my left.

There's not much more to say at this point.  Ben's strategy was obviously to jam my warbeasts with his Kayazy Assassins, and do as much damage as possible while they were engaged.

Turn 1 - Skorne
The Gladiator put Rush on the Cannoneer, and Trampled forward.  The other beasts and Agonizer ran.  Morghoul put 5 Fury on the Agonizer, and advanced.  The Paingivers advanced, and Conditioned the Krea and Brute, and the Extoller ran to support the Cannoneer.

I have a standard opening with this list, and I used it, leading with the Cannoneer, and backing her up with my other beasts.  The Kayazy would be on me next turn.  At this point, I was debating trampling over them to try to get directly to Drake, or trying to slam my way through as many as possible to try to thin down their ranks.

Turn 2 - Mercenaries
Drake used his Feat, selecting all the Kayazi except the back 2, Alexia, and the Bokur as beneficiaries, then cast Fail Safe on the Nomad, and Countermeasure on the Kayazy, and advanced a little.  The Kayazy ran to just in front of my warbeasts, and sat there being unkillable, and shutting down my cannon.  Alexia and the Bokur continued their trek into my backfield on the left, and Eyriss echoed them on the right.  Aianna and Holt advanced; Aiyanna used Stealth, and Holt put some surprisingly heavy damage on my Gladiator with a couple of pistol shots.

This was going to be... complicated.  Kayazy are bad enough when they can be killed.  Now they were going to hold me in place, and I had no way at all to kill them.  I could knock a few of them down, but that would just mean they couldn't charge next turn.

Turn 2 - Skorne
Unable to do much of anything to the Kayazy, I trampled my titans into a very dense formation right in front of their second rank.  The Cannoneer used Diminish to blunt whatever damage the Kayazy threw my way.  The Krea and Brute also advanced.  The Krea put up Paralytic Aura, and the Brute put Safeguard on Morghoul.  Morghoul cast Admonition on himself, and advanced into the "box" I'd made with my warbeasts.  My Extoller and Paingivers closed him in, barely leaving enough wiggle room to escape with Admonition if a Kayazy somehow got to him.  The Paingivers also Conditioned the beasts down to a manageable level of Fury.  Finally, the Agonizer advanced, and put Spiritual Affliction up, catching both of Ben's warjacks.

How I weathered the next turn would determine my prospects for the next turn.  Skorne Titans are pretty tough, but I'd be facing a lot of charges from Kayazy.  With some luck, my Titans wouldn't be too damaged, and I could clear off a few of the Kayazy lingering in my sides and rear, and trample across the ones in front of me.  That should deliver my beasts and Morghoul right into MacBain's grill to eat all his burgers and squeeze ketchup across his broken remains... I mean, leave him no angle of escape.

Turn 3 - Mercenaries
MacBain upkept Fail Safe and Countermeasure.  Eyriss advanced, and shot the Cannoneer, removing Diminish.  Aiyanna and Holt advanced.  Aiyanna put Kiss of Lylyss on the Gladiator, and Holt shot her for another really outstanding amount of damage.  Rhupert gave the Kayazy Tough and Fearless.  The Kayazy charged in, and continued the above average rolls, killing off my Cannoneer, and knocking the Gladiator down to 2 hit boxes.  They also killed two Paingivers, but the other two passed their Cmd check, and put a little damage on my Bronzeback.  Gorman advanced, and Blinded my Bronzeback (and incidentally one kayazy) with black oil, then advanced the Nomad into combat with him, and finished off my Gladiator with the sword.  Drake cast Jackhammer a few times, letting it put a little damage on the Bronzeback.  Saxon and the Mariner both attacked the Agonizer, but failed to kill it.  Alexia and her Bokur charged the Krea, taking off about half her hit boxes.

Ouch.  Losing two of my heavies was tough, but there you go.  I'd be significantly reduced in power, but I could get two of my surviving beasts, and Morghoul through the Kayazy, and make a bee line for Drake.  I'd be counting on my feat and whatever Fury I had left to keep me safe.  I'm normally pretty leery of the pMorghoul "Hail Mary," but here goes...

Turn 3 - Skorne
I didn't upkeep Admonition, thinking I'd need all my Fury for the turn ahead.  The Extoller zapped the one Kayazy in melee with her, but that was all.  The Paingivers Medicated the Krea and Bronzeback.  The Krea attacked Alexia, do some damage.  Morghoul used his feat, Pain and Suffering, Maltreated the Krea, cast Paralytic Aura, and advanced into some Kayazy.  I'd been hoping to kill off enough to keep the Bronzeback safe from major retaliation, then cast Safeguard on Morghoul, but it wasn't to be.  Morghoul missed with half of his attacks, and while he did manage to kill the 4 Kayazy I'd been hoping for, he only had 1 Fury left at the end of it.  Well, it would have to do.  Morghoul wrapped up by Sprinting right at Drake, and engaging Aiyanna.  The Bronzeback didn't let a little thing like being Blind slow it down.  It put Train Wreck on itself, and knocked the Nomad back a few times before hurling it (via Chain Attack: Grab and Smash) into Sylas, clipping MacBain in the process.  Sylas didn't survive, and MacBain was knocked down, so all in all a really good turn for one of the most brutal Warbeasts around.  The Brute charged Gorman, killing him, and engaged Saxon.  He also managed to put himself into Shield Guard range of the Bronzeback to block any nets the Mariner might throw next turn.  The Agonizer, surprised to be alive, used Spiritual Affliction again, because the Mariner might advance out of Morghoul's CTRL.

I was reasonably pleased with how Turn 3 had gone.  It would be hard for me to finish Drake off, but between the Bronzeback, the Brute, and Morghoul, I thought I could do it.  That is, if I survived the coming turn.  Ben did have an assassination angle.  If he could get Morghoul knocked down, Mourghoul would be easy pickings, and the Bokur could slam.  We'd see how this played out.

Turn 4 - Mercenaries
Drake couldn't upkeep any spells, and spent his activation standing up, and looking annoyed.  Alexia and the Kayazy activated, killed the Extoller, a Paingiver, and the Krea, who was currently engaging the Bokur.  The Kayazy also managed to put some damage onto the Bronzeback, but not much.  Saxon continued to fail to kill the Agonizer, who looked like it might actually survive the battle.  The Mariner left combat with the Agonizer to throw a net at the Bronzeback, but missed.  Rhupert resolutely advanced to just in front of Morghoul, and turned his back to the Bokur.  The Bokur slammed Rhupert into Morghoul, killing Rhupert, and knocking down Morghoul.  Aiyanna and Holt finished Morghoul off with Kiss of Lylyss and a flurry of Hand Cannon and Gun Blade attacks.

Victory for the Mercenaries.

Admonition, Admonition, Admonition.  I need to remember to always keep Admonition up on Morghoul if he's going to be in a risky position.  It's a lesson I should have learned from the winning side in several games against eSkarre.  It certainly would have saved me from that assassination.  Ah well, lesson internalized.  Morghoul would also probably have lived if he'd had the Fury to cast Safeguard on himself after killing those Kayazy.  Terrible rolls do happen, though, and there's little to be done about them.  Admonition was something I could control.  Eyriss could have shot both of them off, of course, but she'd have needed 8's to hit if she could get line of sight through the scrimmage between her and Morghoul.

It's not easy running Morghoul without screen of infantry for his warbeasts.  If I'd had Nihilators (for example), I could have protected the heavies a little better.  I'm gradually learning the tricks, though any infantry with high defense and/or high damage output still scare me.  I think I made a fairly good decision trying to Trample my way across the Kayazy, but they just did too much damage to my beasts.

I probably should have advanced more conservatively on my first turn.  That way, my slam angles would have been a little more open on my second.  I would have been able to slam across a lot of the Kayazy, knocking them down, and taking them out of the fight for a critical turn.  I went full out, sticking to my opening inspite of the fact that it wasn't to my best advantage.  There isn't all that much pressure for this list to close with the enemy as fast as possible, and I can really advance at close to my own pace.  If I'd bricked up more, kept the Krea in the middle, and protected my critical models from Eyriss with my Brute (I planned on this in the beginning, but the Kayazy kept getting in the way) I might have done a lot better against the Kayazy tarpit.

Ben played a strong game over all, especially considering that his hardest hitters spent most of it without any Focus.  He combined the Kayazy's good damage potential with Kiss of Lylyss to wear down my beasts, and stripped off Diminish, which would certainly have helped my Cannoneer and Gladiator survive.  He also did well to see the self-slam assassination run.  If he'd missed it, Drake would likely have been killed by the Bronzeback next turn.

The Bronzeback, by the way, is an incredible beast.  I don't know of much else that could have done as much damage while Blinded.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hit and Run Army - The Byzantine Phalanx Under pMakeda

First, some introduction.

In college, I took a history class on the medieval Byzantine Empire, and wrote a paper on its military strategy and tactics.  One of the documents I read for the paper was a book on strategy by a Byzantine general (though I forget his name).  He outlined a deployment where a large block of combined-arms infantry would be a mobile shelter for Cataphracts, which were Byzantine heavy cavalry.

Essentially, the cataphracts (or kataphractoi, to use the spelling I remember) would charge into the enemy in a wedge, then, when their momentum had come to a halt, would turn around and retreat to the infantry formation, where they could change horses etc. and get ready to charge out again.  The infantry mostly held their ground, and repelled any enemies who came after the retreating cataphracts.

Translating this to Skorne, I had to change a few things up.  First, our Cataphract equivalents are not, sadly, our actual Cataphract units (which are heavy infantry), but rather our Warbeasts, and to a lesser extent, Praetorian Ferox Cavalry.  Second, I want to be able to hit and run effectively with this list.  I'm going for at least one turn of attack and retreat with no meaningful retaliation.  That means I'll have to stick to Warbeasts, since I can't really make whole units of Ferox hit and run without tons of support.

Here's the list:

Archdomina Makeda (+5)
*Molik Karn (11)
*Titan Gladiator (8)
*Archidon (7)
*Cyclops Shaman (5)
*Aptimus Marketh (3)

10 Praetorian Swordsmen (6)
*Officer and Standard (2)
10 Venator Rievers (9)
*Officer and Standard (2)
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2)

To hit and run in the same turn, I need movement outside of my normal movement, which is provided by Molik Karn and the Archidon.  Molik's Animus, Fate Walker, allows him (or Makeda) to make a full advance at the end of my turn.  The Archidon's animus, Lightning Strike, allows the target model to make a full advance at the end of its activation provided it destroyed a model with a melee attack.  I also need to be able to retreat a long distance, which Makeda provides with her Savagery spell, granting +5 inches of movement on a full advance.

So the plan for the "cataphract" charge is to cycle Savagery among the Gladiator and/or Archidon for their activations, then onto Molik for his.  This lets me walk (or fly) up to something with any or all of my heavies, tear it a new one, and retreat between 9 and 12 inches.  I'll combine this with a round of shooting from my Venator Rievers unit, who have good range with their Extend Fire ability, and moderate hit-and-run potential with Reform, which gives them a 3" advance at the end of their activation.  The Shaman can join in, advancing, shooting with its Evil Eye, and retreating by duplicating Molik's Fate Walker, if it hasn't used Lightning Strike on something else.

Against opponents with the speed to get to me after that, I'll use the Swordsmen to screen my retreat.  They're quite effective with Makeda's abilities boosting their survival and accuracy, and don't block line of sight for me thanks to their Ranked Attacks ability, so I'll be able to shoot through them with the Venators and Shaman.

Against slower opponents, and depending on scenario, I might get two rounds of hit and run.  Most of the time, though, I'll just get one retreat, and then one alpha strike with my Warbeasts, though my Swordsmen may or may not already be engaged depending on my enemy's speed.

I actually think the list I went with is pretty competitive, but I almost went with a more historically accurate feeling list with a bigger, more powerful infantry block:

Archdomina Makeda (+5) - Army of the Western Reaches Tier 2
*Molik Karn (11)
*Titan Gladiator (8)
*Basilisk Krea (4)

10 Praetorian Karax (6)
10 Praetorian Karax (6)
6 Venator Rievers (5)
*Officer and Standard (2)
6 Venator Rievers (5)
*Officer and Standard (0 - Tier 2 bonus)
Venator Catapult Crew (3)
Venator Catapult Crew (3)
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2)

The Karax are shield wall infantry, and are generally considered inferior to Skorne's other attrition infantry, because they're less aggressive.  They are cheap, though, and have Ranked Attacks innately, rather than receiving it from a unit attachment.  Plus the Phalanx part of the list is intended to sit back and provide cover for the hit and run element, so I don't see the Karax's more passive style being too much of an impediment.  Ultimately I think this list would be pretty competitive as well, although I have no real experience running Karax outside of theorymachine.

The main reason I prefer the first list in the end is that all 3 heavies can potentially perform hit and run attacks.  In this list, only Molik can.  The second list does have a slightly better answer to high-def infantry with the catapults, though.  That, and I don't own any Karax or any Catapults, and picking that up will not be cheap.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

EHexeris - First Impression

I finally got a game in with eHexy this past Saturday.  Caleb is handling the writeup, but I'll post my first impression here.
I played:
Lord Arbiter Hexeris (+6)
*Bronzeback Titan (10)
*Titan Cannoneer (9 - bonded)
*Titan Gladiator (8)
*Cyclops Savage (5)
6 Venator Rievers (5)
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2)
Extoller Soulward (2)
Yeah, I did say I'd be using the Sentry instead of the Cannoneer, but my Cannoneer is fully painted, and It's just more fun to play with painted models.
Amazing.  I've never had a warlock be so instantly intuitive, powerful, and fun the first time out.  All of Hexy's abilities and spells work well together, and I can really see his ability to make anything in the faction run beautifully.  I ran beast heavy, but the overall experience was very different from pMorghoul, and even pHexeris.
In short, I had a blast.  EHexeris is a definite buy for me, as soon as I can afford him.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Battle Report: Mordikaar vs. pDoomshaper

Last week, I got a battle in against Caleb's pDoomshaper list.  It was my first game with Mordikaar, and Caleb's first game with Trollbloods.  The lists were:

Void Seer Mordikaar (+5)
*Titan Sentry (9)
*Basilisk Krea (4)
*Basilisk Drake (4)

6 Cataphract Cetrati (11)
10 Praetorian Swordsmen (6)
*Officer and Standard (2)
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2)

Void Spirit (2)

My first Mordikaar list.  It has good jamming potential with the Swordsmen and Cetrati.  I'm a little worried about the Sentry being my heaviest beast.  Mordikaar doesn't have an accuracy or damage buff, so it's not quite the heavy hitter the list might need.  My thought is that against one and two heavy lists, my Cetrati and Flank on the basilisk pair, with some help from the Void Spirit, might be able to pick up the slack in terms of removing enemy heavies.  We'll see.

Hoarluk Doomshaper, Shaman of the Gnarls (+7)
*Dire Troll Mauler (9)
*Troll Axer (6)
*Slag Troll (6)
*Troll Impaler (5)

6 Fenn Blades (5)
*Officer and Drummer (2)
Krielstone Bearer and 3 Stone Scribes (3)
*Stone Scribe Elder (1)

Fell Caller Hero (3)
5 Troll Whelps (2)

Caleb's comments on the list (based partly on this game) can be found here.  The list seemed decently balanced to me, possibly with an overemphasis on light warbeasts.

Caleb won the roll off, and chose to go second.

I deployed the Swordsmen up in front, with the Cetrati and Mordikaar just behind them.  The Warbeasts and Paingivers went on my right flank, supported by the Void Spirit.  My basic plan was to jam his center with Swordsmen, and follow up with Cetrati against his beasts on Mordikaar's feat turn.  I'd try to put pressure on Doomshaper to cast Purification every turn by keeping Hollow on the Swordsmen, since Purification costs a bit more.

Caleb deployed his Krielstone bearers and Fell Caller behind his Fennblades, and Doomshaper behind them.  His Mauler and Slag Troll deployed opposite my warbeasts, and his Impaler and Axer deployed just behind some of the Fennblades, probably both gunning for my Cetrati and Mordikaar.  The Whelps started the game inside the Trolls.

Turn 1 - Skorne
Almost everything ran forward.  The Cetrati stayed just behind the Swordsmen, and the basilisks edged just ahead of the Sentry on the flank.  Mordikaar advanced, and cast Hollow on the Swordsmen and Banishing Ward on the Sentry.  It would probably get Purificationed away, but I had nothing better to do with the Fury.  The Void Spirit ran to just outside the Warbeasts' flank.

Turn 1 - Trollbloods
The Fennblades ran forward, as did all the beasts.  Doomshaper put 5 Fury on the Krielstone, advanced, and cast Fortune on the Fennblades.  The Krielstone bearers put up their aura, then ran forward.  The Fell Caller ran to just behind the Fennblades.

Turn 2 - Skorne
Mordikaar upkept both spells.  The Swordsmen used Perfect Strike to do automatic damage to warrior models, and charged the Fennblades, killing two, and knocking down another two.  The Krea advanced, and hit the Mauler with Spiritual Paralysis.  He could still get to her by walking with Rush, if he got it, but he couldn't charge.  The Drake advanced to the Krea's right flank, and the Sentry used Locker, and Trampled forward, creating a nicely defended bubble for my Warbeasts.  I also ran my Void Spirit up between the Sentry and the Mauler to make things a little more difficult for Caleb.  The Cetrati advanced and Shield Walled, and the Paingivers advanced and Conditioned the beasts down to the 2 Fury Mordikaar had spent this turn.  Mordikaar just advanced.

Caleb's next turn would be a big one.  I was looking forward to culling at least a few Soul Tokens thanks to Vengeance, but between Purification and Rampager, my Sentry was vulnerable.  I'd just have to hope I'd slowed it down enough.

Turn 2 - Trollbloods
The surviving Fennblades took their Vengeance moves and attacks on the Swordsmen, giving Mordikaar two souls.  The Krielstone Bearers got out of the way, and used their Protective Aura, the Elder put down the "models lose Incorporeal and Stealth" add on, making my Void Spirit vulnerable.  Doeomshaper advanced, cast Purification, then cast Rampager on my Sentry, causing it to advance toward the Mauler, turn around, and attack the Krea for moderate damage.  Then the Axer cast Rush on the Mauler, and moved around near Doomshaper.  The Mauler advanced into melee with the Sentry, cast Rage on itself, and murdered the poor beast.  The Impaler put Far Strike on itself, and fired at Mordikaar, but was out of range.  The Slag Troll advanced a bit.  The Fell Caller put War Cry on the Fennblades, and Sonic Blasted the Swordsmen, killing one or two.  The Fenblades used No Quarter, forcing a Terror test, which the Swordsmen passed, and killed half the unit, forcing another Cmd check, which they failed.

I wasn't too worried about the Swordsmen - Hollow would rally them, and I could bolster their numbers with Revive.  I was a lot more worried about losing my only heavy.  I'd have to focus on taking out the Mauler on my next turn.  Caleb's formation was very cluttered at this point, partly due to terrain, partly due to his unfamiliarity with maneuvering large units of Medium based models, and partly due to the arm-twisting activation order Purification was forcing on him.  He had also forgotten to use Doomie's Feat.  Admittedly, it might not have accomplished much.  Mordikaar wasn't in range yet, and its denial element is kind of unreliable, but it would have put some damage on my Basilisks, and might have made my next turn a little more complicated.

Turn 3 - Skorne
The Void Spirit activated first, putting some damage on the Mauler.  The Paingivers then Enraged both Basilisks, which charged in, taking the Mauler to its last few hit points.  Throughout this process, Caleb forgot to place his Whelps.  I had a contingency plan for them, but it would have made things a lot more complicated for me.  Mordikaar activated next, cast Ghost Walk on the Cetrati, advanced, cast Hollow on the Swordsmen, Revived a Swordsman, and Feated, giving everyone +3 Def and Poltergeist.  The newly Fearless Swordsmen charged the Fennblades, killing a few more.  Three Cetrati charged the Mauler, 2 charged the Fennblades, and one charged the Axer.  They killed the Mauler and one of the Fennblades, doing minor damage to the Arm 20 (really?!) Axer.

I was feeling a lot better now.  My Cetrati were up to the task against lights beasts.  Reviving that single Swordsman made a huge difference.  Revive has enormous potential.  Up till now, I've thought of Essence Blast as Mordikaar's main spell for most of the game, but for a lot of things, Revive is a much better option.  Finally, everything was at +3 Def, and Caleb would have his work cut out for him.

Turn 3 - Trollbloods
The +3 Defense from Void Wind was amazing.  Caleb hit my models about two times, and Tough from Hollow saved one of them.  There was one hilarious moment when the Fell Caller Sonic Blasted across 5 models, and shot back 9" due to Poltergeist.  Meanwhile, I used Poltergeist to my best advantage, pushing models or keeping them where they were depending on which was less convenient for Caleb.  Poltergeist is normally a pretty decent defensive part of Mordikaar's feat, but with Caleb's already cluttered position, it wreaked havoc on his activation order, compounding his inability to hurt my models.

After looking at the counterattack he'd be facing, Caleb decided to concede.

I really like Mordikaar's style.  I've been playing more aggressive warlocks recently, especially pMorghoul, and it was nice not having to fret about getting assassinated all the time.  The Swordsmen had great sticking power between Hollow and Revive.  I'm looking forward to playing this guy again soon.

I'm still worried about the list's ability to take out heavies.  If Caleb had remembered his Whelps, I might not have managed to kill the Mauler.  Much as it saddens me to do so, I think I'll drop the Basilisk pair for a Gladiator.  The Basilisks were good, but I had to dedicate about half my list to taking out a single heavy once the Sentry went down.  A single Gladiator would have been a lot more menacing next to the Sentry, and would let me play my beasts a little further from threats like the Mauler thanks to Rush.

Caleb's inexperience with Trollbloods was his major downfall here.  He just wasn't used to dealing with a large number of Medium based infantry, and pDoomshaper seems like a pretty unforgiving Warlock on top of it.  Still, he handled them well for a first time out, and their tougher, more attrition-oriented play style meshes very well with Caleb's personal style as a gamer.  I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up preferring them to Circle.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Trollblood 101, pt 1: lists, models, and rules to collect by (a.k.a. 'Look pGrexy, Trolls!')

Well, it's about that time again - I've been affected by the dreaded "Casey Fever", and I'm starting up a new army. In an effort not to go overboard (kinda like I did with Circle), I'm going to stick to a few simple rules while building/painting the army:

Rule 1 - Proxy/playtest until I find a 35pt list to build up to

Rule 2 - Buy 1 box (model/unit) from the list at a time

Rule 3 - Paint every model before acquiring another.

Rule 4 - Once at 35pts, make a 50pt list to build up to

On that note, I've been toying around with a few 35pt lists to start the process with.  Here's the first:

Hoarluk Doomshaper ("pDoomy") (*7pts)
* Slag Troll (6pts)* Troll Axer (6pts)
* Troll Impaler (5pts)
* Dire Troll Mauler (9pts)
Krielstone Bearer and 3 Stone Scribes (3pts)
* Krielstone Stone Scribe Elder (1pts)
Trollkin Fennblades (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
* Trollkin Fennblade Officer & Drummer (2pts)
Fell Caller Hero (3pts)
Troll Whelps (2pts)

I played a game against pGrexy's Mordikaar list, and let me tell you - it went badly. It was difficult adjusting to the scarcity of pathfinder compared with my usual Circle (or even Khador!) lists, and a not-so-narrow terrain corridor turned into a hopeless bottleneck as my medium based models vied for position and charge lanes against his swordsman and Cetrati line. Things I've learned from his experience:

1. The list above has too much support - between the KSB and stone scribes blocking my Warlocks movement, the Fell Caller not being able to maneuver well to help the Fennblades, and the Slag/Impaler clogging my back lanes, I was fighting my own placement as much as the enemy.

2. That said, the Fennblades took quite a bit to take down, and performed well in a seriously disadvantageous position (Mordikaar's DEF boosting abilities on Cetrati and Praetorians are downright annoying). They're definitely a keeper.

3. I need to be more aggressive with my light beasts; with Circle, my lights were by and large weak shooty/primarily support models, whereas the Troll light beasts I like have great support abilities but back that up with very good melee (Axer, Slag) or ranged (Impaler) abilities. 

4. pDoomshaper seems like an alright Warlock, but it's going to take a bit more time to get used to his playstyle. The biggest issues are his non cohesive spell list (2 upkeeps... and a spell that removes both of them? Yea, that's not annoying) and the feat is good but can be a bit hit-or-miss -- great at seriously blunting the charge or retaliations of beasts/jacks, but overall completely useless against infantry.  At best, I can expect it to excel at hindering jacks/beasts for a turn, seriously annoy certain opponents, and be downright useless against infantry or anything with an half decent arc node.

So, on that note, I'm switching warlocks for my next proxy game - Calandra Truthsayer.

Calandra Truthsayer, Oracle of the Glimmerwood (*5pts)
* Troll Axer (6pts)
* Troll Impaler (5pts)
* Dire Troll Mauler (9pts)
* Trollkin Runebearer (2pts)
Trollkin Fennblades (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Trollkin Fennblade Officer & Drummer (2pts)
Fell Caller Hero (3pts)
Janissa Stonetide (3pts)
Troll Whelps (2pts) 

The core of my 35pt lists is starting to take shape -- Fennblades, Fell Caller, and the Mauler/Impaler/Axer combo are likely going to be in all my lists for a while.  Janissa seems like one of the strongest solos I've ever seen (wall of stone, rockhammer, AND movement shenanigans?! yay), and the Runebearer effectively lets Calandra cast Soothing Song for free every turn (which she'll likely be doing). The whelps are there to be whelps; less as fury management and more as an annoyance (litterally; Annoyance is a rule that gives all models in 1" of whelps a -1 to attack rolls) and charge blocker.

The other reason for this warbeast selection is that it's very easy to add to for 50pts - for Calandra or Grim, it will probably be a Dire Troll Bomber (to mesh well with the Impaler); for eDoomshaper I would add Mulg or an Earthborn, Madrak or Borka might see a Pyre/Slag troll, and Gunnbjorn would get a Slag/Pyre and a 2nd Impaler. Regardless, the combo of Axer/Mauler/Impaler will see a lot of use for me, and it makes sense (in my brain) to include it in my starter armies.

Overall, I'm very excited to try this list. The other Warlocks I'm looking at starting out with are Gunnbjorn, Grim, and Epic Doomshaper, and we'll see a few lists for them appearing in the next few days.

I'm also nearly finished painting the Dire Troll Mauler, and I'm excited to buy my 2nd model -- just for the heck of it, I'm putting up a voting box to help me decide on the next model I buy.

Finally, expect to see a post soon devoted to the Trollblood display board I'm building: the Circle board turned out bland and unappealing, but this one, this one will be epic!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tournament Part 2 - The Infantry Lists

I'm thinking a pMakeda list and/or a pHexeris list based on my Attrition list (they're the modifications I'd make if I were optimizing the list to the two warlocks).  Both the lists can spread out more than the Beast lists, though the Makeda list still run fairly close together.  Here they are:

Archdomina Makeda (+5)                           Lord Tyrant Hexeris (+6)
*Titan Cannoneer (9)                                 *Bronzeback Titan (10)
*Titan Gladiator (8)                                   *Titan Cannoneer (9)
*Basilisk Krea (4)                                      *Titan Gladiator (8)
*Aptimus Marketh (3 - Attached)                *Basilisk Krea (4)

6 Cataphract Cetrati (11)                            6 Cataphract Cetrati (11)
10 Praetorian Swordsmen (6)                     10 Praetorian Swordsmen (6)
*Officer and Standard (2)                          *Officer and Standard (2)
Tyrant Commander and Standard (3)           4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2)
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2)
                                                               Extoller Soulward (2)
Ancestral Guardian (3)                               Agonizer (2)
Extoller Soulward (2)
Agonizer (2)

Well that's what I've got so far, and I can't decide which I like better.  The Hexeris list can spread out more, and deals better with heavy armor, but the Makeda list is a lot faster and more durable.

We shall see which I prefer as I continue to play...

The Attrition Plan

So, I'm thinking over the Attrition list I made, and I'm pretty pleased with its first run.  Here, I'm going to run down my battle plan and teamwork scheme with the list, and then think about how I'd alter it for the 3 Warlocks I'm running it under.

In terms of teams, I roughly have:

Team 1:  Titan Gladiator, Titan Cannoneer, Extoller Soulward, Paingiver Beast Handlers
Team 2:  Praetorian Swordsmen, both Ancestral Guardians
Team 3:  Cataphract Cetrati, Tyrant Commander and Standard Bearer
Team 4:  Basilisk Krea, Agonizer
Team 5:  Warlock

Team 1 is a formation I'm familiar with.  I'll lead with the Cannoneer, backed up by the Gladiator, Extoller and Paingivers.  This gives me a good way to remove solos and support units at range, and decent removal of enemy heavies.  After my experiences with the list last Tuesday, I'll want to protect this formation a little more than I have been against armies with several heavies.  It'll go in my second wave, right behind the Swordsmen.  This keeps its counterattack threat pretty high.  Xerxis and pMakeda can both toughen the formation up considerably with Defender's Ward on either heavy.  Xerxis makes either heavy capable of destroying the heaviest targets, and Makeda makes them both a lot more accurate with Carnage.  PHexeris usually keeps Soul Slave on the Cannoneer, which boosts Team 1's firepower considerably.

Team 2 is a jamming team which can also remove enemy infantry pretty well.  Usually, the Swordsmen will run just ahead of the Ancestral Guardians, controlling their zone, and filling the AG's up with souls.  The AG's themselves will run close together, both because I can focus their attention that way, and because doubling up the Defensive Strikes makes them an actual defense rather than a gimmick.  The Swordsmen will usually be the ones benefiting from Defender's Ward under Xerxis and Makeda, and will have Death March on them under Hexeris.  Makeda makes Team 2 very tough and efficient with Defender's Ward and her feat.  Def 15 respawning Swordsmen are teh graet, and the Ancestral Guardians can get two turns of soul taking, since the Swordsmen will effectively respawn with 2 souls.  Xerxis makes Team 2 a powerhouse between Fury and his feat.  AG's approach MkI levels of damage, and Swordsmen under Fury and Total Annihilation hit as hard as Great Bears (though less accurately).

Team 3 is a counterattack team with Xerxis and Hexeris.  The Cetrati are quite solid, but a little slower than the Swordsmen as they want to be in Shield Wall.  The Tyrant Commander gives them some extra speed, and can pass Pathfinder out to them or the Swordsmen from the second line.  Cetrati have good Mat and the damage potential to take out heavies if they forgo Shield Wall to charge.  Xerxis gives Team 3 incredible hitting power between Fury and his feat.  In my last battle with this list, 4 Cetrati took out a Colossal on a Pow 14 + 5d6 charge.  PMakeda boosts their speed and durability enough with Savagery, her feat, and the potential for Defender's Ward, that the Cetrati can be extra heavy front-liners to complement the Swordsmen.  Teams 2 and 3 working together, combining their offensive and attrition potential with Savagery, and Press Forward or Overcome thrown into the mix.  Having an excellent jamming unit like the Swordsmen and a tough Weapon Master unit like the Cetrati able to advance and attack regardless of terrain or LoS (though they'll still take Free Strikes) is very nice, and I've used the combination to great effect before.  Hexeris will swap Death March onto the Cetrati after most of the Swordsmen die, and just let the enemy deal with double Mat 9 Pow 11 Weapon Master attacks and free 3" advances if they feel like killing any.

Team 4 is miscellaneous support.  Most of the time, the Krea and Agonizer will be near my Warbeasts or Cetrati, whichever is more in harm's way.  Most of the time, the Krea will use Paralytic Aura on the Warbeasts, and the Warlock will do it on the Cetrati.  The Agonizer will help whichever team is forward take initial Warbeast charges with Gnawing Pain.  Against Warmachine, it'll lurk behind the Swordsmen, and pop out to deny focus allocation for a solid turn of denial after the Swordsmen blunt the charge.

Team 5 is the Warlock, and like Team 4, it will find its place depending on need.  Xerxis, pMakeda, and to a lesser degree, pHexeris, are all mid to front line warlocks, though Hexy can play further back, especially against Warmachine, where there's no Vampiric Reaving to be done.  Most of the time, Team 5 will malinger around the Cetrati, providing army support, and staying as safe as possible.

So what's the Attrition scheme for this army?

The Swordsmen are going to be the first wave.  I'll make them as hard to remove as possible with Defender's Ward and pMakeda's feat, or at least make damaging them a bit riskier with Death March.  My opponent will have to do a lot of slogging to fully remove them, and a charge from Swordsmen can both eliminate a lot of infantry and deny an advance by mucking up the enemy's movement options.  So the Swordsmen can both make the opponent worry, and make them work.

The backup against any surviving infantry will be the Ancestral Guardians.  They're high Mat, and have a lot of Reach attacks if enough Swordsmen died.  Against heavier stuff, the Cetrati and warbeasts will take over.  Full Cetrati can take out a heavy when charging, and both the Titans can do it with Enrage.

I'm eager to give this list another test run now that I have its battle plan down a little better, and I'll at least run the list as-is a few more times.

If I had to make some changes, I'd do the following:

Xerxis: The list stays the same.  Xerxis had a good mix of attrition, and unlike pMakeda or pHexeris, had no trouble at all dealing with heavy armor.

pMakeda:  I might try to fit Aptimus Marketh in.  I felt the list was pretty well balanced with her - the extra attrition of Defender's Ward and her Feat make the list especially good at grinding it out with an opposing army.  Carnage makes the Cannoneer about as good as the Gladiator at removing heavies; the bump up to Mat 7 is just good enough that she'll hit Def 12 heavies very reliably, so I'm not especially concerned about removing heavies with her (yet - I'll have to see how this holds up in practice).  Makeda did feel Fury-starved.  On Turn 1, she really wants to get both upkeeps out, and put some Fury on the Agonizer.  On turns 2 and up, she really wants to cast Carnage, and camp around 2 Fury for transfers.  I don't want her to spend much Fury casting a second upkeep or topping off the Aggie.

pHexeris:  He might want another heavy, and the Bronzeback is a very good one for him.  The game I played against eDoomshaper, I lost both my heavies at the top of Turn 2, and had no way to recover from the blow.  Against beast heavy lists, I might need another heavy.  I'm also not sure that the AG's are doing much for Hexeris.  They don't have the crushing power of Xerxis' spells and Feat, nor the second round of souls and extra accuracy from pMakeda.  The Hexeris list is probably the one I'd be most likely to rearrange completely, but we'll see.

I'm hoping to get some more games in either this Friday or next Tuesday.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tournament at Tower on the 28th

I'm thinking of doing this one.  It's a 50pt tournament, and I'll need to get my ass in gear in terms of painting and assembling models.  It's Divide and Conquer, but I'm not entirely sure if it's two or three lists.

Right now, I'm thinking a beast brick headed by either pMorghoul or Xerxis, a more spread out, infantry-oriented force using either pHexeris or pMakeda.  If it's three lists, I'll throw in Modikaar.  I tried him out this past Saturday, and he was loads of fun.

For now, the Beast Brick:

Master Tormentor Morghoul (+7)                 Tyrant Xerxis (+5)
*Bronzeback Titan (10)                                *Bronzeback Titan (10)
*Titan Sentry (9)                                         *Titan Sentry (9)
*Titan Cannoneer (9)                                   *Titan Cannoneer (9)
*Titan Gladiator (8)                                     *Titan Gladiator (8)
*Cyclops Brute (5)                                      *Basilisk Krea (4)
*Basilisk Krea (4)
*Basilisk Drake (4)                                      6 Cataphract Cetrati (11)
                                                                 4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2)
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2)
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2)                       Extoller Soulward (2)

Extoller Soulward (2)
Agonizer (2)

For both lists, I'm debating taking two Cannoneers instead of Cannoneer + Sentry, but the Sentry is a very good beast.  I'm also considering going double Gladiator in the Xerxis list and maxing the Paingiver, and maybe switching the Extoller out for an Agonizer.

No ideas yet for the more infantry-centric list.  I'll have to get a few more games in with both pMakeda and pHexeris to know what exactly I want for them.

3 Games in With my Attrition Experiment

Well, I played three games with my Attrition List last week, and lost all of them.


These were all against more experienced players using factions I don't normally face, and ignorance about my opponents' capabilities was definitely as much a factor in my defeats as their superior experience and skill.  All the games were a lot of fun, and made me think a little harder about the list, its advantages, and its shortcomings.  I'll do three brief battle reports, then look at my attrition list again, and rethink my strategy with it in my next post.

Game 1: pMakeda vs Jarl Skuld

I ran my attrition list under Makeda:
Archdomina Makeda (+5)
*Titan Cannoneer (9)         6 Cataphract Cetrati (11)                       Ancestral Guardian (3)
*Titan Gladiator (8)           10 Praetorian Swordsmen (6)                 Ancestral Guardian (3)
*Basilisk Krea (4)              *Officer and Standard (2)                      Extoller Soulward (2)
                                       Tyrant Commander and Standard (3)      Agonizer (2)
                                       4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2)

My Opponent, Dan, ran the following:
Jarl Skuld, Devil of the Thornwood (+6)
*Dire Troll Bomber (10)        5 Long Riders (11)            Horthol, Long Rider Champion (5)
*Earthborn Dire Troll (10)     4 Kriel Stone Scribes (3)    Janessa Stonetide (3)
*Swamp Troll (4)                                                         Fell Caller Hero (3)
*Troll Impaler (5)
*Rune Bearer (2)

I won the roll off, and chose to go second.

Turn 1 - Trollbloods
Dan ran pretty much everything forward, put Tactical Supremacy on Jarl, and Quicken on the Long Riders.  He placed the bulk of his forces around a house, screening it from my warbeasts.  His Bomber was creeping around one flank, gunning for my Gladiator and Cannoneer, while his other warbeasts went around toward the bulk of my infantry.  The Long Riders advanced on my far right flank.  Finally, Jarl advanced again with Tactical Supremacy.

Turn 1 - Skorne
I ran the swordsmen forward a little, keeping the Ancestral Guardians behind them.  The plan was to jam Long Riders on the next turn while my heavier stuff attacked the rest of Dan's army.  Neither my beasts nor my Cetrati could take a bunch slams, but the Swordsmen.  Makeda Dropped 4 Fury onto the Agonizer, cast Savagery on the Cetrati, used her feat to return any Sworsmen who got killed, and advanced onto a hill behind the Swordsmen.  The Tyrant Commander put Press Forward on the Cetrati, and ran to just ahead of Makeda.  The Agonizer ran, staying between the Cetrati and the beasts.  I made two serious mistakes with my warbeasts.  First, I'd advanced Makeda out of control range of the Gladiator.  Second, I took Dan's bait, and sent both my heavies against his Bomber, diverting them away from the bulk of the fight.  I advanced the Paingivers, and Enraged the Gladiator.  The Gladiator Rushed the Cannoneer, Trampled the Paingiver who Enraged it, but made it back into Makeda's Control area.  The Cannoneer ran.  The Krea advanced, and used Paralytic Aura to protect the heavies.

Turn 2 - Trollbloods
Jarl upkept both spells.  The Swamp Troll advanced, and tried to drag in a Cetrati, but failed to do damage.  Janessa advanced, and cast Rock Wall right in front of the Swamp Troll.  The Earthborn advanced to just behind the wall.  The Bomber advanced, and threw a couple of bombs at my warbeasts (trying to get my Paingivers), but they scattered harmlessly.  The Impaler Advanced, and put Far Strike on Jarl, then the Rune Bearer used Harmonious Exaltation.  Jarl advanced, cast Magic Bullet on himself for 1 Fury, then unloaded into the Tyrant Commander, doing no damage... to him.  The Pow 12's from Magic Bullet careened into Makeda, doing 10 damage with some nasty rolls.  Jarl then Feated, throwing a bunch of clouds between my army and his.

Turn 3 - Combined
I advanced through the Clouds powered by Savagery on the Cetrati, and later on the Swordsmen, and got a bunch of attacks in against the Long Riders, Swamp Troll and Earthborn.  I swapped Defender's Ward onto the Cetrati after they moved.  My Cannoneer, benefiting from Guidance, put a shot at his Bomber, but missed anyway.  The Titans in general continued to be distracted by the bomber.

On Jarl's turn, the Bomber and Jarl both managed to get line of sight to Makeda (who was only camping 1 Fury).  She was too badly wounded from the previous turn to live through it.

Well, I didn't see Magic Bullet coming, that's for sure.  The defense against it is pretty simple, but hurts for a mid-to-front line Warlock like pMakeda: stay at least 4.5" away from allies.  I did make some positioning mistakes with my titans.  The Cetrati brick might have held the center, but they weren't going to kill off the multiple beasts lined up against them.  Having my beasts in there would have made that more manageable.  I also probably should have camped more Fury overall.  Makeda has some trouble topping up the Agonizer, running her upkeeps, and wanting to cast Carnage on turns 2 and up.

Game 2: pHexeris vs eDoomshaper

Undeterred, I ran the list a second time.  I was torn about who to use next, but I picked pHexy over Xerxis.

Dan went with:
Hoarluk Doomshaper, Rage of Dhunia (+6)
*Mulg the Ancient (12)           6 Kriel Stone Bearers (4)      5 Whelps (2)
*Earthborn Dire Troll (10)       *Stone Scribe Elder (1)       5 Whelps (2)
*Dire Troll Mauler (9)            6 Trollkin Scouts (5)
*Troll Axer (6)                      6 Pyg Bushwhackers (5)

Apparently, this is a popular tournament list.  It was certainly effective.

Dan won the roll off, and went first.

Turn 1 - Combined
Dan Ran everybody except Doomie, who advanced, and put Refuge on the Earthborn, and Wild Aggression on Mulg.  The Bushwhackers were way out on the left flank.  Most of the beasts clustered up around the building to avoid any cannon fire.

On my turn, I advanced, cast Soul Slave on the Cannoneer, and Death March on the Swordsmen.  The Swordsmen advanced to catch a charger from the Scouts.  The Cetrati and warbeasts were bricked up a little back from them and to the side.  This was my big mistake of Game 2.  I didn't know what eDoomie's feat did.  I could have asked, but I usually just like to roll with things.

Turn 2 -Trollbloods
There was a lot of Rushing and Feating and having the KSB give +1 to Strength on the Trollkin side of the table.  Then the Earthborn charged in and killed both my heavies.  Whoops.  The Mauler ran around the building, Mulg loomed up behind the Earthborn, and the Scouts bounced off the lead Swordsmen I'd left out as bait.

I gallantly struggled onward for another round, Hexy actually killing the Mauler single handed and Vampiric Reaving all its Fury.  Then Mulg came along, and slammed him out of melee.  At that point I had no beasts left, and Hexy was staring down Mulg and most of the Earthborn, so I decided to concede.

Another game, another lesson.  This one I really should have seen coming, and screened my beasts with infantry.  It didn't help that with pHexeris (like pMakeda) my list struggles a little to deal with heavies.  Cetrati are tough, and hit moderately hard, but they don't have the spot removal of a Bronzeback.

Game 3: Xerxis vs. Nemo 3

This time, I went with Xerxis.

My opponent, Nick, took (to the best of my recollection):
Artificer-General Nemo (+3?)
*Stormwall (18?)     6 Stormblades (5)                   Stormsmith Storm Caller (1)  Storm Strider (9)
*Lancer (6)             *Officer and Standard (3)        Stormsmith Storm Caller (1)
*Caitlin Finch (-)     *3 Storm Gunners (3)              Stormsmith Storm Caller (1)
                              Stormsmith Storm Tower (2)   
                              Stormsmith Storm Tower (2)

There was another model with a spray, but I don't remember which it was.

Turn 1 - Skorne
I advanced everything with the Swordsmen out in front, the AG's, Cetrati, and warbeasts all pretty much on a line in the second rank.  Xerxis put Defender's Ward on the Cetrati, and Furny on one of the Ancestral Guardians, then put one point of Fury on the Agonizer.

Turn 1 - Cygnar
Nick advanced a little faster, running most of his models.  Nemo put his defensive spell (+2 Arm and doesn't suffer the effect of destroyed systems) on the Stormwall, and advanced.  The Stormwall put out one of its pods.

Turn 2 - Skorne
I started by upkeeping Fury, but I dropped Defender's Ward.  I'd be leading with the Swordsmen, and they're significantly better at jamming with Defender's Ward than without it.  The Stormblades were out of the Swordsmens' charge range, so I ran with them instead.  One AG killed the Stormwall pod, and the other moved in behind the Swordsmen.  The Xerxis/Cetrati brick advanced, and Xerxis used Paralytic Aura, and cast Defender's Ward on the Swordsmen.  The beast formation also advanced, with the Krea using Paralytic Aura to protect the heavies.

Turn 2 - Cygnar
Nemo upkept his spell, and the rest of the army advanced again.  The Storm Towers tried to shoot my Cannoneer, but they were out of range.  The Lancer advanced on the Cetrati, and Nemo channeled a knockdown spell on them and Xerxis.  The Stormwall opened up on Xerxis, but his Arm 20 kept him safe.  The Stormwall also laid down 2 suppressive fire AoE's in front of my Swordsmen, blocking their charge lines on the Stormblades, who advanced again, and missed the Swordsmen with a couple ranged attacks.  The Stormcallers got two swordsmen with Pow 10 lightning using the Stormwall's pod as a triangulation vector.

Turn 3 - Skorne
Xerxis upkept both his spells.  Xerxis went first, using Press Forward on the Cetrati, and charging the Stormwall's pod, killing it, then using Paralytic Aura.  The Cetrati advanced around Xerxis.  The Tyrant Commander used Press Forward on the Swordsmen, and charged the Lancer, as much to engage it as anything, and missed.  The Swordsmen used Perfect Strike, walked around the Suppressive Fire templates, and sliced through several Stormblades.  The Cannoneer shot at a Storm Caller, but it scattered onto some Stormblades, who fled.  The AG with Fury on it charged the Lancer, and hit, doing minor damage.  The Agonizer used Spiritual Affliction, and ran to within 4" of both the Stormwall and the Lancer.

Turn 3 - Cygnar
There was little for Nick to do this turn.  He killed the Agonizer with shooting, and killed off most of the Swordsmen with the Storm Towers and Storm Callers.  The Stormwall killed the AG without Fury, and the Lancer killed the Tyrant Commander.  Nemo camped a lot of Fury to prevent a ranged assassination from the Cannoneer next turn.

Turn 4 - Skorne
This turn, Xerxis dropped his upkeeps.  Xerxis activated first, cast Fury on the Cetrati, Feated, and charged the Stormwall for minor damage, then camped 2 Fury.  The Ancestral Guardian finished the Lancer, and destroyed the Stormwall's Lightning Pod blocking my Cetrati from charging in.  The Cetrati charged the Stormwall, bunching up around Xerxis to protect him with the +2 Arm from his Feat.  The Stormwall died, leaving a huge wreck marker.  The Swordsmen focussed on taking out the remaining Stormblades and engaging the Storm Callers.

Turn 4 - Cygnar
This turn, Nemo Feated, then everything in Nick's army shot lightning at the Cetrati and Xerxis, first taking out the two Cetrati protecting Xerxis, then frying him with boosted Power 10-12 damage rolls until he died.  Victory for Cygnar.

I played the list a lot better this game, partly because I was more used to it, and partly because Xerxis doesn't struggle with heavy armor no matter how few beasts he takes.  I actually really liked having the flexibility of multiple cheaper AG's with the crazy damage potential available through Xerxis' feat.  Praetorian Swordsmen really are annoying under Defender's Ward.  It gives them enough Def to be hard for infantry to hit, and enough Arm that Pow 10 lightning won't kill them every hit.

All in all, 3 great games against awesome opponents.  In the next day or so, I'll post my overall strategy with the Attrition list, and I might make some slight alterations.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Attrition and Denial

Last week, I talked about playing an attrition game, and trading models effictively.  In this post, I'll talk about what I call Direct Denial, which is generally just called Denial, and how that interacts with Attrition.  A strong element of Denial can vastly improve an army's ability to create favorable trades, whether or not it has a strong attrition theme.

Let me give an example using my pMorghoul list at 35pts, which has a solid element of Direct Denial as well as Attrition.  The list again is:

Master Tormentor Morghoul (+7)
*Bronzeback Titan (10)
*Titan Cannoneer (9)
*Titan Gladiator (8)
*Cyclops Savage (5)
*Basilisk Krea (4)

4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2)

Extoller Soulward (2)
Agonizer (2)

The Attrition scheme has already been discussed.  I have several dedicated Attrition abilities, most of which end up on my Cannoneer as it leads my army forward.  With the Krea's Paralytic Aura, Candes is Def 14/ Arm 20 against ranged attacks.  Her own Animus, Diminish, makes her effective Arm 20 against melee attacks.  Morghoul's spell Admonition lets the Cannoneer dodge out of melee with one model/unit that just engaged her.  Finally, the Agonizer adds even more Attrition against Warbeasts, inflicting a -2 penalty to damage rolls upon affected beasts.  So the Cannoneer is hard to kill.  She threatens a wide area with her gun, and of course, her backup is Titans under pMorghoul.

So where's my Denial, and what does it do?  The main element of Denial is pMorghoul's Feat, Pain and Suffering, which prevents models in his CTRL from spending Focus, being Forced, or having damage transferred to them.  Basically, it brutally shuts down Warbeasts, Warjacks, and sometimes, when I can catch them, Warcasters, for a turn.  Most jacks rely on Focus for effectiveness, and nearly all beasts rely on Forcing even more.  After Morghoul feats, for one round, I'm basically safe from anything capable of putting a serious dent in my warbeasts except Weapon Master infantry.

What this amounts to is that against many armies, I'll be able to grind enemy counterattacks to a dead stop for one round.  If they take my bait (the Cannoneer), and dive into my melee range, I can counterattack, then hit Pain and Suffering.  I just traded my Cannoneer for whatever they used to kill it, and prevented them from continuing to trade next turn, giving me the initiative to hit them.

Offensively, the denial element gives me a turn to hit the enemy first without too much fear of a counterattack.  I charge in, kill the opponent's bait, then Feat, stopping their backup from hurting my army as I plough in.
I've mostly been playing against Hordes lately, but against Warmachine opponents who play with a significant number of Warjcks, the Agonizer is also a powerful denial piece, although I use it a little differently.  Its Spritual Affliction ability denies Focus allocation to affected Warjacks.  This seems to tread on Pain and Suffering's toes, but the timing on Focus allocation makes Spiritual Affliction better if it's used pre-emptively rather than defensively.  In other words, it's better for me to run the Agonizer out *before* my forces meet my opponent's, and use Spiritual Affliction to deny allocation to as many jacks as I can, than it is to wait until our forces are engaged to do it.

The result is that the turn before I strike, my opponent's jacks cannot charge me or run to new positions.  If they can advance into melee with me, I'll take little damage, since they can't boost or buy attacks against my already strong attrition setup.  My Agonizer usually dies here, but the damage is done.  On the second turn, I'll commit for all I'm worth with my own beasts, do as much damage as I can, and use Pain and Suffering, buying me another turn of freedom from any serious warjack reprisal.  What counterattack there is is softened considerably by my defensive measures.  That's often enough to let me finish the game on the next turn (turn 4, usually), at least if all goes according to plan.  It's an effective one-two punch of Denial I use to deliver my army, and maximize my Attrition potential by essentially counter my opponent's attrition game.  I can take their pieces, but they can't retaliate in kind.

That whole example was with pMorghoul and Skorne, but lots and lots of caster (and support pieces) from many factions have Denial tools they can use in similar ways.

In a recent game against eKrueger (commanded by the ever-valiant Caleb), I had the tables turned on me by Krueger's strong denial feat.  Caleb shoved most of my army out of reprisal range (they couldn't charge thanks to the Speed debuff component), and gutted my Bronzeback for no loss to his forces on my next turn.  My whole Attrition setup was countered by a well-timed round of Denial, and I was forced to fight an uphill battle from there.
Denial has a strong effect on an Attrition game, whether it's used to bolster an Attrition army's ability to trade effectively, or break that army's tempo and steal back the initiative.  One reason I like my pMorghoul list is its ability to combine Attrition and Denial into a crushing offense.  Synergizing different strategic elements is a key part of list building and strategy building, and considering the effects the different themes in my lists will have on one another helps me come up with a battle plan for every list.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Starting it up With Mordikaar

A couple of posts ago, I talked about starting up with Mordikaar and eHexeris.  I'm going to try Mordikaar fist, because I've been running very beast heavy with pMorghoul, and I'd be running beast heavy with eHexy too.  I've decided to change up my list a smidge to this:

Void Seer Mordikaar (+5)
*Titan Sentry (9)
*Basilisk Drake (4)
*Basilisk Krea (4)

10 Praetorian Swordsmen (6)
*Officer and Standard (2)
6 Cataphract Cetrati (11)
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2)

Void Spirit (2)

I swapped out the Cannoneer for the Sentry for 3 reasons.  First, so I could take both Paingivers (vital in a list with a possible weakness to heavies) and a Void Spirit (because come *on* it's Mordikaar).  This also sets me up to potentially swap out the Cetrati for some Arcuarii and a second Void Spirit, which would be a very cool changeup for the list.

My second reason is that I take the Cannoneer a lot.  It's a great beast for me, it meshes very well with my playstyle, and I often miss it when I don't take it.  But I don't want to become reliant on it.  Starting up with new casters is a good opportunity to branch out with my playstyle.

My last reason is so that I can be an ass with the ol' Void Spirit plus Locker gag.  Basically, I put Locker on the Sentry, and Trample it up.  Then I run my incorporeal Void Spirit right between the Sentry and any beasts or jacks able to charge it.  Unless they have reach, they can't charge the Sentry directly, because the Void Spirit's in the way.  They also can't charge at an angle because they'll stop as soon as they hit the Sentry's melee range.  Reach gets around it, and of course magic attacks can remove the Void Spirit, but if it works?  Instant defense from warjacks and beasts across the Sentry's 6" melee arc.

Rather than posting my teamwork scheme for this list before I get some experience with him, I'll do a quick review of Mordikaar's spells and abilities, and how I plan to use them.


Banishing Ward:  Spell immunity and defensive upkeep removal.  I won't cast it every game, but against things lings like Druids it'll be golden.  When it does come into play, I'll probably use it on the Sentry in most cases, and the Cetrati occasionally to protect them from movement shenanigans and stuff like Crippling Grasp and Curse of Shadows.

Hollow:  Undead, Tough, and a Soul collection mechanic to fuel Cull Soul.  It's Mordikaar's workhorse spell.  It'll spend most of the time on the Swordsmen, who are pretty expendable individually, and who benefit from Tough for jamming.

Essence Blast:  My key removal spell.  I'll probably drop hollow and use Swordsmen for most of my aggressive turns, ans recast Hollow after Essence Blasting if I can.  This is going to be good both for clearing infantry and sniping solos.

Revive:  This will mainly target my Cetrati, making them very difficult get rid of completely.  Against most things, I'll just revive them in Shield Wall, and have the advance and attack with their unit for the extra toughness.  Against heavies, I'll revive them in good charge positions.

Ghost Walk:  And I have a way to grant Pathfinder!  But Ghostly does more than that.  It makes the target immune to free strikes, which will be good for walking stuff like my Swordsmen and Cetrati through jamming screens, and trampling without fear with my Sentry.

Feat - Void Wind:  Straightforward and solid, a good Def buff and Poltergeist.  It'll be a good thing to do either right before, or right after my forces and the enemy's meet.  It works very well with the Sentry's Set Defense, and the Krea's Paralytic Aura.

The other things I'll take into account are Void Lord and Death Blast.  I'm taking a Void Spirit, but I'll be keeping it in my CTRL for the boost to attack rolls.  It's a little different from the way I've played Void Spirits in the past, where they range further afield to hunt down solos and things.  Fortunately, Mordikaar has a decent-sized control area for the one I'm taking.

Death Blast hopefully won't be used too much.  If Mordikaar is close enough to shoot the enemy, he is likely in trouble.  But it's an AoE with decent Power that heals Mordikaar when it kills a dude, so I'll keep it in mind.
I'm hoping to get a couple of games in tomorrow, which is a Warmachine/Hordes day at my LGS.