Monday, September 30, 2013

4+ Tournament 09/28/13: pGrexy's Reports

Hi everyone!  I played another tournament this past Saturday, and I had a blast again.  It was a 50pt SR 2013 without specialists.  We played with death clocks instead of timed turns, so timing was a little different and much less stressful.  I played Makeda 3 and pHexeris with the following lists:

Makeda and the Exalted Court (+2)
*Molik Karn (11)
*Bronzeback Titan (10)
*Titan Gladiator (8)
*Basilisk Krea (4)
10 Nihilators (8)
Tyrant Commander and Standard Bearer (3)
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2)
Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor (2)
Agonizer (2)
Mortitheurge Willbreaker (2)

Lord Tyrant Hexeris (+6) - Kingdom of Shadow Tier 1
*Bronzeback Titan (10)
*Titan Cannoneer (9)
*Titan Gladiator (8)
*Archidon (7)
*Cyclops Savage (5)
*Aptimus Marketh (3)
10 Praetorian Swordsmen (6)
*Officer and Standard Bearer (2)
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2)
Agonizer (2)
Extoller Soulward (2)

The Tier 1 benefit for Kingdom of Shadow is that Hexeris can start with his upkeep spells in play affecting friendly models.  The Swordsmen start with Death March, and the Archidon starts with Soul Slave.  Hexeris sometimes starts with Psychic Vampire.

I talk a little more about my lists here.  Ignore the part about Specialists, I'd thought we were going to use them, but we didn't.  I also didn't play at all on Friday (I thought it would be better to get some sleep).

Game 1 vs. Keith's Cryx

Keith (of Muse on Minis fame - he and John had come up from Iowa) was running eAsphyxious and eDeneghra.  Makeda 3 is a front line warlock, and I wasn't willing to send her out against Deneghra, who can shut down her mobility.  Plus, I'd ostensibly brought Hexeris to help out with the Cryx matchup, so I pulled him out.  Keith didn't want to deal with Hexeris' feat potentially negating Asphyxious,' so he went with Deneghra:

Wraith Witch Deneghra (+6)
*Ripjaw (5)
*Nightwretch (4)
*Skarlock Thrall (2)
10 Bane Thralls (8)
*Officer and Standard Bearer (3)
10 Satyxis Raiders (8)
*Sea Witch (2)
10 Satyxis Raiders (8)
10 Satyxis Blood Witches (6)
*Blood Hag (2)
Satyxis Raider Captain (2)
Satyxis Raider Captain (2)
War Witch Siren (2)
War Witch Siren (2)
Deployment and Scenario

The scenario was Chemical Reaction.  There are two rectangular zones, one closer to each player, and two objectives, one in front of each player's deployment zone.  Destroying your opponent's objective gives one point.  Dominating your own zone gives one point, while controlling your opponent's zone gives 2 points and dominating it gives 3.

Keith won the roll-off, and went first.  He deployed his Banes on the right side of the table in front of his own zone, and the Blood Witches on the left in front of mine.  Deneghra deployed roughly in the middle with the Skarlock, and the arc-nodes went out to the sides, Ripjaw on the left, and Nightwretch on the right.

I deployed my Titans on the left because I wasn't too keen on getting them charged by Bane Thralls.  I put my Swordsmen on the right so they could hold up the Banes, the Savage in the center-right to help them, and the Archidon in the middle behind a forest where it could support the army with spells on turn one.

Keith deployed all his Satyxis Raiders and Raider Captains 6" in front of his other troops, and the War Witch Sirens near the bonejacks.  The Raider squad with the Sea Witch deployed on the left, opposite my beasts.

Round 1

Keith did some Desperate Pace-ing and some Power Booster-ing, but mostly everything ran.  The Satyxis Raiders had just about made it to my side of the two zones, which was pretty intimidating.  Those things are fast.  Deneghra also ran her full 14 inches, and camped all her Focus.

I mostly ran up, and toed my Gladiator into my zone.  The Archidon flew up.  The Savage put Prescience on Hexeris, and he killed about 4 Raiders with Soulfire.  The Cannoneer, which had had Rush cast on it, advanced, and took out the Ripjaw's arc-node with a shot.  The Paingivers advanced and managed fury.

Round 2

Keith advanced Deneghra, used her Feat, Web of Shadows to paralyze my army (except the Agonizer and one Paingiver), and cast Curse of Shadows on the Gladiator.  The left Satyxis charged in, and badly mauled the Archidon and Gladiator, leaving them barely alive.  The Skarlock cast Ghost Walk on the right Satyxis, who charged the Swordsmen, and killed off 8 of them.  Harsh.  Most of the rest of the army ran.

On my turn, Marketh mulched a Raider with Soulfire.  The Cannoneer shot Deneghra for a respectable amount of damage, and Hexeris swapped Soul Slave onto the Cannoneer, and put a little more on her with a scattered Obliteration (Keith had positioned her just outside of 10" of the Cannoneer).  That was that.

Web of Shadows is a very powerful Feat, and it was a good thing I was in the zones at all.  Keith was in a good position to keep my army pinned between the Control Zone and my AD line.  My next round would need to be spectacular (or Keith would need to make a terrible mistake), or I was doomed.

Round 3

Keith upkept Curse of Shadows on the Gladiator.  The Ripjaw attacked the Gladiator, but missed.  The Satyxis finished the Gladiator and the Archidon, and damaged the Savage, but failed to kill either of the remaining Swordsmen.  The Blood Witches went incorporeal, and charged the Cannoneer and Bronzeback for some decent damage.  A Siren charged the Bronzeback, and Shadow Bound it again (boo!).  Deneghra sprinted back to the far side of her zone, camping 6.  The Banes ran up again, being much slower than Satyxis.

I could move again!  Hexeris went first, used his Feat, Dark Dominion, put Prescience on himself, and charged the Ripjaw.  He finished it off, and spent some more attacks killing the Satyxis in front of where the Gladiator had been.  They missed all their fellows though.  The Swordsmen killed a few Satyxis (who helped kill each other), and tried to start some Dark Dominion chains among the Banes, the Satyxis managed to critically knock their targets down, ensuring that I wouldn't get to move with them even if I did kill them.  The Bronzeback flailed at the Blood Witches, but I'd forgotten about their mini-Feat (and forgotten to use the Extoller).  I didn't forget to use it on the Cannoneer, who killed off a bunch of Blood Witches.  They and their magic knives accounted for a few more.

That had not been very spectacular.  I had completely failed to remember Diminish, and I forgot about the Extoller, who should have given Hexeris Eyeless Sight so he could try to start some chains among the Bane Thralls.  This is what I get for not playing any practice games with this list on Friday.

Round 4

Keith was up 2 points, and saw the potential to win this turn.  He focused on taking out the Cannoneer, the only model who had managed to make it into a zone last turn.  There wasn't all that much which could do it, but the Cannoneer didn't have all that many hit points either.  The Banes destroyed my objective, but it didn't end up mattering, because the Cannoneer fell.  Keith scored 3 points to cap himself out at 5.

Victory to Cryx!


Brutal, but fun!  I don't feel bad about losing this one.  I farted through my activation order a little, but I don't think it would have made a difference.  Keith's list was a bad matchup for mine, and he's a much, much better player than I am.  It was really interesting to see how he handled his army, and I wish I'd taken pictures.  He played a very clean game, and positioned well with everything.  There's a litany of things I should have done differently, but they mostly amounted to predicting what Keith could do to me a little better.  Keith's list played to Deneghra's strengths very well.  It has incredible jamming speed, and Deneghra's Feat helps it shut many enemy lists out of scenarios.

Game 2 vs. Braden's Skorne

Braden is one of our local Skorne players, although I haven't played him yet.  He brought eHexeris with a lot of guns, and pMakeda.  Both lists had a Mammoth.  I wasn't sure my Hexeris list was up to the task of cracking Skorne armor, and I have a lot more practice recently with Makeda 3, so I went with Makeda.  Braden went with Hexeris:

Lord Arbiter Hexeris (+6)
*Mammoth (20) - Bonded to Hexeris
*Titan Cannoneer (9)
*Titan Cannoneer (9)
*Cyclops Raider (5)
6 Cataphract Incendiarii (9)
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2)
Venator Flayer Cannon Crew (2)

Hexeris can channel spells through his bonded beast while it is in his command range.

Deployment and Scenario

We played Fire Support, which is a lot like Chemical Reaction.  There are two zones and two objectives, one for each played.  Destroying your opponent's objective is worth a point, dominating your own zone is worth a point, and controlling or dominating your opponent's zone is worth 2 or 3 points respectively.  The most significant piece of terrain was a forest in the center of the table, which would be handy for limiting lines of sight.  I won the roll-off, and chose to go second.

Braden deployed the Mammoth on the left opposite my zone, and put the Cannoneers and Raider in the center-left close by.  The Incindiarii and Flayer Cannon went center-right, while Hexeris deployed more or less right in the middle.  The Paingivers went behind the beasts.

I'd be scoring first, so I decided to skew my deployment toward my own zone.  Makeda is good at clearing zones, and I was pretty sure I could jam Braden's slower list out of mine.  My beasts deployed in a brick in front of my zone.  The Nihilators deployed in the middle where they could threaten Braden's zone and do some screening.  The Tyrant Commander, Orin, and the Willbreaker went in the middle, while the Agonizer went on the left to suppress Braden's beasts.  The Paingivers went behind the beasts.

Round 1

Braden ran everything except Hexeris, who put Ashen Veil on the Mammoth, and Arcane Reckoning on the Nihilators.

I did a more complicated setup, which ended up with me bricked up on the edge of my zone with my Warbeasts all huddled in a Paralytic Aura.  The Nihilators spread out in front of the forest to limit lines of sight on them.  Makeda cast Vortex of Destruction, camped one, and put 3 on the Agonizer.  The Paingivers advanced, and managed fury.

Round 2

Braden advanced, and did a lot of shooting.  He killed 3 Nihilators and a Paingiver, and put some damage on my Bronzeback and Orin.  His Paingivers managed fury.

The Nihilators ran up to screen my beasts, and one charged a group of 3 Incindiarii.  The screening ones blocked the Mammoth and Cannoneers from access to where I'd be putting my Gladiator and Bronzeback.  The one who charged the Incindiarii went... BERSERK!, and killed all three.  O.o

The beasts mostly just advanced into my zone, huddling up around the Krea again.  Midwinter tried to zing the Mammoth (well, mostly the Paingivers behind it) with some lightning, but was out of range.  The Agonizer ran up and used Gnawing Pain in case the Mammoth charged.  Makeda topped off the Agonizer, and entered the zone, her Court providing Shield Guard for the Beasts.  I ended up camping 3, and scored a point for dominating my zone.

Round 3

Braden advanced again, and this time put a lot of damage on the Gladiator with shooting, and killed 4 more Nihilators.  His Cannoneers threw up Diminish to reduce my incoming damage.  He also had Hexeris run for his zone, and we both scored one.

I was getting a leg up, and I knew it.  I decided to try to take out the Mammoth.  The Nihilators charged in, 2 on the Mammoth, and one on the Raider, doing decent damage.  Then the Krea advanced, and used Spiritual Paralysis on it and put up her Paralytic Aura.  Makeda healed the Gladiator, Rushed Molik, and gave a charge order.  She hit the Krea before reaching her charge target, and an Exalted Guardian charged into the Raider, taking its health down considerably.  The Tyrant Commander used Overcome on itself and the Standard Bearer, and the Standard Bearer ran into Braden's zone, while the Tyrant ran up to the forest.

Both the Gladiator and Molik charged the Mammoth, but when the dust had settled, it was alive at 1 box.  The Agonizer used Gnawing Pain and ran forward again to debuff the enemy beasts no matter what they did.  I ended my turn, and scored again, putting me at 3.

Braden really needed to make something happen.  I would win if he didn't kill Makeda or contest my zone next turn.

Round 4

Braden started off by healing the Mammoth.  Then it used Power Attack, Double Handed Throw to chuck Molik at Makeda!  It hit, doing a significant chunk of damage to Makeda, and knocking her down.  Furthermore, following least disturbance meant pushing Makeda out of Shield Guard range of her second Exalted Guardian, though thankfully, she stayed in range of the Krea's Paralytic Aura.

The Cannoneers and Incendiarii tried to finish Makeda off, but left her at 5 boxes with one transfer, meaning fire had no chance to kill her.  One Incendiarius had died to a Bronzeback Counter Charge, and the Raider was tied up in melee, or it could have gone very differently.

We both scored a point at the end of Braden's turn, and I scored again on my turn, bringing me to 5, and him to 3.

Victory to the Skorne! Uh... Makeda's Skorne!


This was a pretty rough matchup for Braden, and I played it well.  I jammed him out of the zone, and stayed there until I'd scored 5.  My list is also very resistant to shooting, and the most significant damage he was able to do was to a knocked down Makeda on the last turn.  I should have expected the 2-handed throw, and camped a third point of Fury (I could have dropped Vortex of Destruction).  There are scenarios where the shooting Titan Wall strategy works, but this wasn't one of them.  It ended up being too slow, and Braden was on the back foot for most of the game.

Game 3 vs. Todd's Mercenaries

Todd was running Shae with A Pirate's Life Tier 3, and what looked like 4-star with eMagnus.  I was still feeling good about Makeda.  Although Hexeris has good tools against Mercs with his spells, and has some firepower to help out against Magnus' Feat, I went with Makeda.  Todd went with Shae:

Captain Phinneus Shae (+6)
*Galleon (18)
*Commodore Cannon and Crew (4)
10 Sea Dog Crew (8)
*Mister Walls, Sea Dog Crew Quartermaster (2)
*3 Sea Dog Riflemen (3)
10 Press Gangers (6)
10 Press Gangers (6)
Lady Aiyanna and Master Holt (4)
Bosun Grogspar (1)
Dirty Meg (1)
Doc Killingsworth (1)
First Mate Hawk (1)
Lord Rockbottom (1)

The Tier Benefits for A Pirate's Life are reduced point cost for the allowed solos (Tier 1), Pathfinder for the army on turn 1 (Tier 2), and a bonus to the starting roll (Tier 3).

Deployment and Scenario

We were playing Process of Elimination.  There are two rectangular zones 8" apart in the center of the table, and a monolith in the middle of each zone.  The monoliths are enemy models to both players, and only one can be damaged each turn.  Destroying a monolith is worth one point.  Controlling a zone is worth 1 point, and dominating a zone is worth 2.

Todd won the roll-off, and went first.  He pre-deployed the Galleon in front of the right zone, and put Shae and the Commodore in the middle.  Hawk, Killingsworth, Grogspar and Rockbottom went on the left, while Aiyanna and Holt went on the right flank, and Dirty Meg deployed base-to-base with the Galleon.  All the units were AD.

I decided to jam the Galleon, and focus on the left zone.  The Nihilators went in the center-right, with the Agonizer opposite the Galleon.  The Bronzeback and Gladiator deployed in front of the left zone with Makeda, while Molik deployed just behind the left Nihilators to support both zones as necessary.  The Krea went with the Titans, the Paingivers spread out in the back, and the other support elements deployed in the center.

Todd deployed one unit of Press Gangers and the Sea Dogs on the left, and the other unit of Press Gangers on the Right.

Round 1

Todd ran with everything except the Commodore Cannon (which can only be moved by shoving it) and Shae himself, who advanced and cast Veil of Mists in front of the Pirate support solos.

I ran with most models.  The Gladiator trampled, and the Krea used Paralytic Aura.  Makeda cast Vortex of Destruction, placed 3 fury on the Agonizer, and advanced 8" thanks to Press Forward.  The Agonizer took shelter behind a wall.  Orin managed to fry 2 Pirates with Arc Lightning, and did 2 damage to Hawk.

Round 2

Todd ran Hawk forward to give his Pirates another damage die.  The left Press Gangers charged the Bronzeback, and managed to take it down to 4 boxes (yikes!).  The right Press Gangers charged the Nihilators, but only killed one thanks to a combination of bad rolls by Todd, and a couple of Tough checks by me.  The Galleon and Holt lit up at the Agonizer, but he was pretty safe behind that wall, and the Galleon only inflicted 2 damage from a deviating template.  The Commodore shot at my Gladiator, but was out of range by half an inch.

The Nihilators stood or walked, killed 4 or 5 of the right Press Gangers, and engaged Aiyanna and Holt.  Makeda healed the Bronzeback 1, advanced, killed a Press Ganger, and arced Eliminator at a cluster of 6 Sea Dogs.  Thanks to Killingsworth, she only killed 2, and retreated 4" to a safer location.  Then she cast Fate Walker.

The Paingivers advanced, healed the Bronzeback, and Enraged the Gladiator and Karn.  Molik killed another of the right Press Gangers, and cast Fate Walker.  The Agonizer used Spiritual Affliction to deny focus allocation, and ran to 6" away from the Galleon.  The Bronzeback killed all the Press Gangers engaging it, and the Gladiator charged and killed the left objective.  The Krea advanced to just behind the Gladiator, and used Paralytic Aura.  Orin splashed some more lightning on the Sea Dogs, and did another two damage to Hawk with the chain.

Next turn, I'd Feat, and try to clear out the left zone to dominate it.  If I could kill all the pirates in the zone or push them out, I'd stand a good chance to win on scenario in round 4 or 5.

Round 3

Todd tried to shoot the Gladiator with the Commodore Cannon, but missed since it was Def 16.  Then he charged the Gladiator and Bronzeback with Hawke, the Sea Dogs and the rest of the right Press Gangers.  With Hawk's bonus, the Pirates managed to kill both Beasts!  D8<

Things were looking a lot better on the right flank.  The Press Gangers killed one Nihilator and instilled another with a turrible yearnin' fer the sailer's life (hey, if they can press gang a Gallows Grove, they can press gang a Nihilator).  Holt killed the Nihilator engaging him, and Aiyanna put Kiss of Lylyss on Molik, hoping the Galleon could reel him in and finish him off.  However, the Agonizer was in the way, and Galleon just could not hit or damage it with unboosted rolls.  Shae moved up and shot the Agonizer to prevent it from making the Galleon useless again, but rolled terribly on damage.

Well, that had gone pretty badly for me.  Losing those two heavies would make it just about impossible for me to clear out the left zone without bonkers luck.  However, Shae had moved up pretty close to the back of the Galleon to get LoS to the Agonizer.  Definitely within 4 inches.  And that meant Molik Karn could get to him.

I tried to get Makeda into him for Vortex of Destruction first.  The Krea took out a Sea Dog.  The Tyrant Commander got out of the way, and put Press Forward on Makeda's unit.  The Nihilators took out a few more Press Gangers.  The Paingivers Enraged Molik, and Medicated the Krea.  Orin shot some more lightning to thin out the Sea Dogs, and killed two more.

Then Makeda activated.  Her unit advanced, she Feated, then she got 5 Fury from attacks (3 from her guardians, 1 from her own initial, and 1 from killing Hawk with Eliminator), and advanced into a pair of Press Gangers near Shae.  She cast Eliminator twice more, but couldn't kill either of them, and wound up casting Fate Walker in case Molik couldn't finish the job.

I'd like to say I remembered Puppet Master for Molik's assassination run, but I didn't.  The Willbreaker sat there unremembered until the end of the game.  In the event, it proved unnecessary.  Molik went, bounced off the Galleon with two Side Steps, and killed Shae easily with bought attacks.  Future Sight turned out to be enough of a luck bender for me.

Victory to the Skorne!


I probably would have been better off taking Hexeris against the Mercs this time.  Shae's army marches on its solos, and Hexeris is great at scalpelling them out.  I would have been very nice to get Killingsworth and Hawk out of the way before the lines met, and the Pirates had killed off all my Titans.  I also made a few mistakes besides forgetting the Willbreaker.  I should have put some more effort into killing off Sea Dogs with Makeda and her Guardians on turn 2.  It was down to the last attack against the Gladiator and the Bronzeback, and if I'd killed even 2 or 3 more of them, it would probably have gone differently.  Todd played a solid game, and attritioned me out well, but he didn't have experience against Molik Karn.  Shae would have been pretty safe against just about any other model, as he was very far from everything on the left, and across a Galleon from anything on the right.

Overall Thoughts

As always, I had a lot of fun.  I went 2-1, which put me in 5th.  My overall play was alright, although I really need to practice more with my lists before the next tournament.  I did alright with Makeda 3, but I still made mistakes, and I kept forgetting activations with pHexeris in the one game I played with him.

I also got to see how a top ranked player handles a list.  Keith was very good, and I still need to process what I learned from that game.  I don't know why, but I usually enjoy it when I'm solidly outplayed by someone who is just better than I am.  I don't kick myself as hard about my mistakes for one thing. :P

Thanks to all my opponents for the great games, and thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tournament This Saturday - Lists and Thoughts

Well, there's a 50pt tournament at Tower this weekend, and I'll probably be able to make it.  I've decided to go with Makeda 3 and pHexeris for a couple of reasons.  First, they're the warlocks I probably have the most practice with, although I haven't played pHexeris in a little while.  Second, I really like their respective play-styles, and I think they complement each other.  Makeda 3 is very aggressive, and tends to run more of a brick list where she can put her offense wherever it's needed to support the list.  She can be shut down with some denial, which Hexeris can play around thanks to a stronger ranged and magic game.  Hexeris is more control-oriented.  He likes to get rid of support solos and jamming elements early on with his spells.  He can have some trouble with very high armor, which is something Makeda handles fine.

Here are the lists I'm considering:

List 1: Makeda and the Exalted Court

Makeda and the Exalted Court (*2pts)
*Molik Karn (11pts)
*Bronzeback Titan (10pts)
*Titan Gladiator (8pts)
*Basilisk Krea (4pts)

Nihilators (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
Tyrant Commander and Standard Bearer (3pts)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)

Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor (2pts)
Agonizer (2pts)
Mortitheurge Willbreaker (2pts)

*Cyclops Shaman (5pts)
Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew (1pt)
Extoller Soulward (2pts)

I've been playing Makeda 3 a lot lately, and this is the list I'm most comfortable with right now.  It's well rounded enough that I'd take it against most opponents and in most scenarios.  The plan is to try to start scoring scenario points early, and grind down the opponent's army until I win on scenario, or there's an assassination lane open.  The Nihilators are mostly a screening and jamming unit, Makeda and Molik Karn will do most of the work against enemy infantry, and the Bronzeback and Gladiator will do most of the mid/late game piece trade with enemy heavies.  The rest is support - the Tyrant Commander and Mortitheurge Willbreaker will focus on supporting Makeda, since she'll be doing so much of the offense.  The Agonizer and Orin Midwinter will focus on reducing incoming damage from enemy models by denying spellcasting or Focus allocation, or just reducing damage rolls.

The one thing I'm really worried about for this list is denial.  I can lose tempo really quickly if I'm denied LoS by cloud effects or if Makeda is shut down by a speed debuff.  The Shaman can strip debuffs, while the Extoller lets models see through cloud effects.  I'd be dropping the Krea and a 2-pt solo (any of the three depending on my opponent) when I switch in the Shaman, so I decided to take Swamp Gobbers to fill the extra point.  They'll be able to block LoS to Makeda and Molik after Fate Walker moves, and provide Concealment if I still need the defense against ranged attacks.

List 2: Lord Tyrant Hexeris (Kingdom of Shadow Tier 1)

Lord Tyrant Hexeris (*6pts) (Starts the game with Psychic Vampire)
*Bronzeback Titan (10pts)
*Titan Cannoneer (9pts)
*Titan Gladiator (8pts)
*Archidon (7pts) (Starts the game with Soul Slave)
*Cyclops Savage (5pts)
*Aptimus Marketh (3pts)

Praetorian Swordsmen (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts) (Start the game with Death March)
*Praetorian Swordsmen Officer and Standard Bearer (2pts)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)

Agonizer (2pts)
Extoller Soulward (2pts)

*Cyclops Shaman (5pts)
*Cyclops Raider (5pts)

Kingdom of Shadow
Tier 1 Benefit: Friendly models/units can begin the game affected by Hexeris' upkeep spells.  These spells and their targets must be declared before either player sets up models.  Hexeris does not pay fury to upkeep these spells during your first turn.

This is my current pHexeris list.  It's pretty well balanced.  Hexeris doesn't have any way to boost hitting power, especially for beasts, but he has a strong anti-infantry game between his Feat and his ability to channel spells.  The Bronzeback, Cannoneer and Gladiator are the heavy hitters here, and help Hexeris take care of heavy armor.  The Archidon is a fast Soul Slave target for chanelling, and hits pretty hard in melee.  The Savage is mainly around to provide Hexeris with Future Sight to make his spellcasting more efficient.  The Swordsmen are mainly a screen, but also help clear out enemy infantry.  The Extoller Soulward will mainly be giving Hexeris Guidance, but might use it on the Cannoneer as well if needed.  The Agonizer does its usual denial of either stopping Focus allocation or reducing damage from enemy Warbeasts.

I'm not completely settled on the Specialists here.  I'll either be putting the Raider or Shaman in for the Savage if I need the extra shooting, but don't feel I need Future Sight for spells.  Against Cryx infantry lists and the like, I'll probably put both of them in for the Bronzeback.  The armor cracking isn't necessary against Cryx, but all the shooting I can bring, especially boostable sniping, will be very helpful.

Overall, I'm pretty confident of my abilities in most matchups.  Makeda will probably be my go-to warlock in this tournament because I have the most experience with her recently.  I'll be faster and more confident with her in general, and her list can actually handle most matchups.  I'm a little worried about serious denial like p/eDeneghra and Haley, but Hexeris is decent in those matchups, and if I think Makeda will be in serious trouble, I'll use him.  He also handles high-Def a little better than Makeda does, so I'll consider him for the Iron Flesh matchups as well.

I'm also worried about Menoth, especially Harbinger.  Self-Sacrifice and Martyrdom mess with both of my Feats, and Makeda will be seriously impeded without Blood Boon.  Both Warlocks want to target the enemy with spells, and Menoth is great at denying that.  Oddly, I'm not very worried about Purification.  Neither Hexeris nor Makeda relies on upkeep spells that much, and neither uses them for defense.  It's not so bad recasting offensive upkeeps if I need them.

That's it for the lists.  I'll probably play a couple of games tomorrow night with pHexeris, just to get used to him again, and make sure I have the list I want.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Makeda and the Exalted Court vs. Lich Lord Asphyxious at 50pts

I got to play a few games this past Friday.  No pics, unfortunately, since I was mostly playing with a time limit and forgot.  Anyway, here's the first game.  I'm still honing my Makeda 3 list, and here's what I'm using:

Makeda and the Exalted Court (+2)
*Molik Karn (11)
*Bronzeback Titan (10)
*Titan Gladiator (8)
*Basilisk Krea (4)

10 Nihilators (8)
Tyrant Commander and Standard Bearer (3)
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2)

Agonizer (2)
Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor (2)
Mortitheurge Willbreaker (2)

This is basically the same Makeda 3 list I've been working with, and it's one that I'm settling on.  The Nihilators are an utterly expendable screen for the Warbeasts.  Molik Karn and Makeda herself are the main heavy lifters due to their hit-and-run potential and bananas offense.  The Bronzeback and Gladiator present a counterattack threat, hold ground, and squish heavy armor.  They also give out animus support for Molik.

The remainder of the list is support.  The Krea boosts my game against shooting, and has good Def-debuffing ability.  The Agonizer helps me survive against Warjacks and Beasts.  The Tyrant Commander is mostly there to give Makeda Press Forward, but the other abilities are great on any of the units.  The Mortitheurge is mostly around for Puppet Master (very good in a list where a few select models need to roll a lot of dice), though I'm also considering an Extoller Soulward to counter Incorporeal and Cloud effects.  Finally, there's Orin Midwinter.  He provides some decent all-around support for the rest of the army with Arc Lightning for a bit of ranged punch and the occasional Null Magic to shut down any Butcherings I might otherwise be about to face.

My opponent, Jamie, played the following eGaspy list, which he's using so all us less-than-regular tournament goers can get used to it:

Lich Lord Asphyxious (+6)
*Canker Worm (5)
*Nightwretch (4)
*Skarlock Thrall (2)

10 Bane Thralls (8)
*Officer and Standard Bearer (3)
10 Bane Knights (10)
6 Bile Thralls (5)
6 Satyxis Blood Witches (4)
*Blood Hag (2)
The Withershadow Combine (5)

Bane Lord Tartarus (4)
Saxon Orrick (2)
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist (2)

More regular tournament goers will recognize the basic shape of this list as a pretty standard configuration for eGaspy.  Lots of Banes for the Feat (and for being Banes in general), and Tartarus to support them.  Blood Witches to jam with Incorporeal and deny Tough and Healing with the Blood Hag's Cmd.  Bile Thralls to Purge enemy infantry.  The Skarlock is a good source of a free Parasite or what-have-you.

I don't know how standard the other support in the list is, but it's solid.  Saxon is great to give Bane Thralls Pathfinder since terrain can be an issue for them.  Gorman is just a hateful little creature in general, and can line up cloud shenanigans with Gaspy to grant Concealment or just block LoS to a pretty good chunk of the battlefield.  The Withershadow Combine is also good.  Free upkeeps, good upkeep removal, and Puppet Master along with some very decent offensive spells which give the list a little more of a ranged option than just Purge and Bile sprays.

Scenario and Terrain

We played Process of Elimination.  There are two 12" by 6" zones 8" apart in the center of the table.  Each zone has a Monolith which counts as an enemy model to both players.  Destroying a Monolith is worth one point, controlling a Zone is worth one point, and dominating a zone is worth two.  Only one Monolith can be damaged each turn.

The terrain was fairly symmetrically spaced, with one wall near the center in front of one of the zones, another wall just outside the other zone, and two hills and two forests spread out in a rough square around the outside of the zone.  Right in the center of the table was a swamp (shallow water).


I won the roll-off, and decided to go second so I'd have the first shot at scoring.  Epic Asphyxious is pretty good at keeping himself out of harm's way, so I want to put some pressure on him with the scenario.

Jamie had a lot of infantry, and deployed them in a massive block in front of the zones.  The Bane Thralls and Withershadow Combine went on the right (from my perspective), the Bane Knights went on the left with the Blood Witches and Skarlock right behind them, and Asphyxious went in the middle with the Bile Thralls, Gorman and Tartarus.  The Nightwretch deployed on the far left to run around the zones and arc spells at me.

I deployed my Nihilators against the Bane Thralls on the right zone to slow them down, and Molik went behind them to try to polish them off on the Feat turn.  Makeda and the Court deployed dead center, and the Bronzeback and Gladiator deployed in the center left to help her deal with the Bane Knights.  The Krea deployed centrally behind Makeda, and Orin, the Willbreaker and the Tyrant Commander deployed close by.  The Paingivers deployed in a thin line behind the Beasts.

Canker Worm advance deployed in front of Asphyxious near the middle, and Saxon advance deployed behind the low wall to the right of the right zone.

Turn 1: Cryx

Everything in the army ran except Asphyxious, who cast Hellbound on himself and charged.  He dropped no Caustic Mist clouds because I had no shooting.

Turn 1: Skorne

I mirrored the Cryxian strategy of sprinting forward, although I did have to put a little more thought into it.  The Nihilators spread out as far as they could so that some of the would survive being purged on (there's really no avoiding it).  Makeda cast Vortex of Destruction on herself, dumped some Fury on the Agonizer, and charged while the Exalted Court ran.

Molik Ran up behind the Nihilators, and the Krea walked up behind Makeda.  The Bronzeback and Gladiator did their usual trick of the Gladiator Rushing the Bronzeback and Trampling up while the Bronzeback ran.  The Support mostly ran, but the Paingivers did wipe off a little Fury with Condition.

Finally, the Agonizer used Spiritual Affliction to shut down Arc Nodes near it, and ran up next to the Gladiator on my left flank.

I was still out of most charge ranges, and Jamie, like me, hadn't brought much shooting to the table.  My furthest forward unit was the Nihilators, and I did expect a lot of them to die.

Turn 2: Cryx

Most of the army ran forward again, gnashing their skeletal teeth and waiting to get into combat.  Asphyxoius advanced, cast Excarnate on the Nihilator closest to the Blood Witch UA, who didn't get a Tough check thanks to Entropic Force.  The Nihilator was removed from play, and a brand new Bile Thrall was born (or whatever gross process Excarnate actually uses) about 8" away from the lead Nihilators.  Asphyxious cast Teleport to retreat behind the Bane Thralls on the right.

Then the Bile Thralls activated.  The brand new baby Thrall walked up and exploded with happiness, killing 5 more Nihilators, and dealing 2 damage to the Tyrant Commander.

So that's the Excarnate-Purge trick Asphyxious does.  I saw it coming, but losing more than half my Nihilators like that put my right flank on the clock.  On the plus side, that massive wave of Cryxian infantry was more than halfway into both zones, and well within my threat ranges.

Turn 2: Skorne

The Nihilators went first.  Three of them advanced into the Bane Thralls jamming the right zone, and the leader advanced to keep everyone in Command range.  They managed to kill 3 Banes, but the Banes started passing Tough checks before Berserk could do much damage.  The Tyrant Commander mostly stayed put, and used Press Forward on Makeda to giver her an extra 2" of movement on a full advance.

Then Makeda cast Fate Walker on herself, walked up to a cluster of Bane Knights, and Feated.  The Exalted Court also walked up, and gave her 2 Fury with their attacks, bringing her to 5 (she'd upkept Vortex of Destruction).  She cast Eliminator into one of the Knights, and killed 3, then advanced 6" deeper into the Cryxian horde.  She killed a few more Bane Knights, and a Blood Witch, which let her cast another Eliminator with Blood Boon.  She advanced into Tartarus, and killed him off along with a few more Blood Witches (who passed their Cmd check for half casualties).  Makeda was sitting on one Fury, and had nothing left alive (or undead) in her melee range, so she was done.

The Paingivers Enraged the Gladiator, Bronzeback, and Molik.  The Krea simply advanced again.  Midwinter advanced, and tried to Arc some Lightning onto Gorman di Wulfe by hitting a nearby Bile Thrall.  The lightning only arced once (I needed it to arc twice to hit Gorman), but killed the Bile Thrall and damaged the Blood Hag.  The Gladiator Rushed the Bronzeback, and charged a Bane Knight next to the left objective.  It killed both the Knight and the objective, netting me a control point and Makeda 2 points of Fury.  The Bronzeback charged the Blood Hag, and killed her easily.  Then Molik charged a Knocked Down Bane Knight, and killed it.  He had no other targets to Side Step into, though, so he just cast Fate Walker to retreat.

The Agonizer used Spiritual Affliction again to stop Arced spells, although the radius was smaller this time, and ran up next to the Gladiator again.  The Willbreaker (who I should have used for Puppet Master earlier), cast Influence at a Blood Witch to try to make her stab Gorman, but she missed.

Last but not least, Makeda and Molik took their Fate Walker moves.  Makeda walked back behind the Krea, and Molik walked back toward the left zone, out of charge range of the surviving Bane Thralls.

That had been a pretty good turn overall.  I'd all but wiped out the Bane Knights, and I'd destroyed both Tartarus and the Blood Hag meaning the Banes would be slower and less accurate from now on, and I'd be able to heal both Makeda and my beasts.  How many of those Beasts survived remained to be seen, since Asphyxious' Feat is amazingly powerful against them.

Turn 3: Cryx

Admonia upkept Hellbound, and Asphyxious allocated 2 to the Canker Worm.  The Withershadow Combine put Puppet Master on the Skarlock, and threw a couple Darkfires at me, but they didn't do much.  The Skarlock activated first, and cast Parasite on my Bronzeback to reduce its armor.  The Bile Thralls walked up to attack my surviving Nihilators (one died to a Counter Charge from the Bronzeback), and killed off one of them plus the Tyrant Commander and Orin Midwinter with 2 Purges.

The surviving Bane Thralls advanced and killed off all the Nihilators except the leader.  Canker Worm used its Armor Piercing attack against the Bronzeback, and hit it for a decent chunk of damage.  Saxon gave Asphyxious Pathfinder.  Gorman tried to blind Makeda with a Black Oil grenade at the Krea, but missed, and only blinded the Krea.

Asphyxious charged up, and used his Feat, bringing back 7 Bane Knights and 3 Bane Thralls, then he Teleported back behind the low wall on the right next to Saxon.  The resurrected Banes charged all 3 of my heavies (3 on the Bronzeback and Gladiator and 4 on Molik), but Jamie tanked his rolls.  He missed with about half the Banes (with a little help from Molik's Intuition :3), and rolled abysmally low on about half his damage rolls.  At the end of all the Bane activations, all three heavies were still alive.

The surviving Blood Witches charged the last Exalted Guardian and Gladiator, but failed to do damage.  The surviving Bane Knights charged the Gladiator, but one missed, and the other was out of range.  The Nightwretch advanced, and attacked the Agonizer, but failed to kill it.

That went much better than expected.  I'd thought Molik had a decent chance to live due to his Def, but I was still nearly at full strength.  Asphyxious was still safe, but there weren't many Cryxians in the left zone, so I had a good chance to get a leg up on scenario.

Turn 3: Skorne

Makeda leached from Molik, the Gladiator auto-passed its Threshold check due to being within 6" of the Bronzeback, and Molik passed his Threshold check normally.  Makeda upkept Vortex of Destruction.

The Krea forfeited its action from Blind, then advanced on Gorman and used Paralytic Aura to drop his Def.  Makeda advanced, murdered Gorman, and used Blood Boon to sling an Eliminator at a cluster of 3 Blood Witches near the Gladiator.  Then she and the Guardian killed off the other Cryxians in the left zone except the Nightwretch, then cast Fate Walker.  Last, she healed the Gladiator and Molik.  She was camping 0 Fury, but most of the army would be between her and any threat.

The Paingivers advanced, Enraged Molik, and Conditioned the Krea and Gladiar back down to 0 Fury themselves.  Molik charged the Nightwretch, but only hit with one attack (admittedly for high damage).  The Gladiator advanced, and took 3 boosted swings at the Wretch, finally wrecking it.  The Bronzeback charged a Bile Thrall, but its Mind was out, and it missed.  The last of the Nihilators advanced into the line of Bane Thralls, and started swinging, but only killed one thanks to Tough.

Makeda Fate Walked to a safer spot, and dominated the left zone for 2 points, putting me at 3.

Jamie was on the clock now, and didn't have much to contest the left zone with, and I was only 2 points away from winning on scenario.  Makeda was fairly safe too, but I never like leaving a warlock at nothing.

Turn 4: Cryx

Admonia upkept Parasite, but Asphyxious dropped Hellbound.  The Canker Worm finished off the Bronzeback with Armor Piercing, then took its extra advance to get into the zone.  The Skarlock threw Parasite at Makeda, but missed.  Tremulus advanced into the zone, and cast Puppet Master on Maelvous.  Maelvous and Admonia cast Darkfire at Makeda, and did a few points of damage.

The Bane Thralls destroyed the objective in the right zone, but couldn't finish off the last Nihilator.  Saxon gave Asphyxious pathfinder, and he charged the last Nihilator, finally bringing it down.  Then he cast Excarnate on the Willbreaker, finishing it off, and adding a Bane Thrall, and Teleported back to the far side of the zone.  Then Jamie ended his turn dominating the zone for 2 points.

Jamie had scored 3 points, but I only had 2 models to clear out from the left zone, and I was fairly certain I could do it.

Turn 4: Skorne

Makeda leached from the Gladiator, and Molik passed his Threshold check.  The Krea used Paralytic Aura again, and advanced to within 2" of the Canker Worm.  Makeda walked up, and I did some quick guesswork.  I figured that I could Ground Zero the Worm out of the zone on a 3 or better with the push, and Tremulus out on any roll.  I was base to base with the Canker Worm, so on a 2 or 1, I'd still be able to make attacks.

I cast Ground Zero, killed Tremulus, and pushed Canker Worm 4 inches.  Then I ended my turn, and scored 2 points for dominating the left zone.

Victory to the Skorne!


I played a pretty good game.  I played to my army's strengths, and used Makeda's Feat to destroy one of the Bane units and some critical support.  I used the Nihilators and one of the Exalted Guardians to hold Asphyxious up on the right flank, and started exploiting my advantage on the left well.  I definitely made some mistakes in activation order, and totally blanked out on Puppet Master two turns in a row.  I also left Makeda hanging with 0 Fury due to poor planning.  I can't say I outplayed Jamie - I don't know how the game would have gone if his dice had been better.

Makeda 3 is unbelievably fun.  This game she did most of the heavy lifting herself, and dominated the left zone in relative safety.  The list is fitting together very well.  Midwinter was great (though he died early), and the Willbreaker also has good potential (next time I'll use Puppet Master - it could have saved Makeda a Fury).  I might try an Extoller Soulward instead of the Willbreaker to deal with clouds and collect those tasty Nihilator Souls.  I'm not completely sold on these two over the Drake, but I should also play them correctly first.

Jamie played a mostly solid game, and I'm pretty sure this was his first time playing against Makeda 3 (at least it's the first time I've player her against him, and I'm the only Skorne player in our meta who's currently on a Makeda 3 bender).  He also seems fairly new to this eGaspy list, though it's really good for the rest of us to get practice against it.  He didn't exploit Caustic Mist, and he elected to charge on turns 2-4 rather than use Daemortus to collect Soul Tokens.  He definitely needed extra range on at least 2 of those turns, but he might not have it he'd planned his Turn 1 and 2 differently.  He used Gaspy's Feat well, but the dice just betrayed him - he definitely should have killed at least one beast with it.  The weak Feat turn sealed the game for him, and let me press my advantage on the left flank hard.

As for his list, it is very strong.  It's well optimized to play to Asphyxious' strengths, and includes a swathe of very solid Cryx infantry.  I expected Excarnate, but I wasn't prepared for how well it and the Bile Thrall purge synergize with the Blood Hag's Entropic Force.  I'm not 100% sure about Gorman vs. say, a Warwitch Syren, and I don't actually think the list needs the Withershadow Combine in a two-list game.  As I said though, I'm not an expert on Cryx, so those are all my thoughts.

I probably won't post reports of the next two games, as they aren't very exciting to write up.  I won the second game with Zaal mainly because my opponent was trying a new list and it was taking too long to activate, so he timed out 2 turns in a row.  I won the third game with Makeda 3 because my opponent had a brain fart on turn 2, and left his caster in Molik's threat range.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Battle Report: Makeda 3 vs. Jarl Skuld at 50pts

I played another game against my co-blogger, Caleb J this past Tuesday, and here's how it went:

I ran the Makeda 3 list I'm working on:

Makeda and the Exalted Court (+2)
*Molik Karn (11)
*Bronzeback Titan (10)
*Titan Gladiator (8)
*Basilsk Krea (4)
*Basilisk Drake (4)

10 Nihilators (Proxied with Immortals) (8)
Tyrant Commander and Standard Bearer (3)
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2)

Agonizer (2)

This is my first game with this list for Makeda 3.  The Nihilators are screening.  It's my first game in a while with them, but they're very solid troops for protecting my beasts.  Speed 6 will get them out on the front lines, and Reach and Tough will make them annoying to break through.  This is also my first time trying out the Drake with Makeda 3.  I'm thinking he'll be good on the side, where his spray can clear things up or get free boosted damage rolls against anything Makeda's fighting.  I also think his Animus will be situationally good with Makeda 3 if she starts her turn engaged, or has the option to move around before her action with Eliminators.  Overall, I'm optimistic about this one.

Caleb decided to try out Jarl Skuld:

Jarl Skuld, Devil of the Thornwood (+6)
*Dire Troll Bomber (10)
*Dire Troll Mauler (9)
*Troll Impaler (5)
*Rune Bearer (2)

10 Kriel Warriors (6)
*Piper and Standard Bearer (2)
*3 Caber Throwers (3)
3 Long Riders (7)
3 Runeshapers (4)

Horthol, Long Rider Champion (5)
Fell Caller Hero (3)

This is a deviation from Caleb's standard brickier lists.  It's got a quick and very durable jam with the Kriel Warriors, and a fast melee powerhouse with the Long Riders and Horthol.  Jarl and the Bomber can put in a good amount of work at range, and the Mauler gives it some finishing power in melee.  It seems quite well balanced and fun, especially with Jarl's mobility.

Deployment and Scenario

We played Fire Support (scenario 12), with 2 flags in the middle of the table, and a friendly and an objective on each players table half which counts as friendly to that player (and contests the flag near it until it is destroyed).

A shot of the table (and some Skorne).  The Heavy Myrmidons are our objectives, and the Ancestral Guardians are our flags.

I won the roll-off, and chose to go second.  Caleb deployed in a classic battle line, with the Long Riders and Runeshapers taking the center, the Kriel Warriors deploying slightly to the left, and the Warbeasts deploying in a supporting cluster slightly to the right.  Horthol went to the right of the Warbeasts, but not too far out.  Jarl and the Fell Caller took the center near the Long Riders and the Kriel Warriors.

The Trollkin deploy in a long battle line across the center portion of the table.

I deployed in my standard brick.  The Nihilators and two Titans went up front, though the Nihilators would quickly outpace the Titans.  Makeda deployed on the front lines as well, though the Exalted Court deployed just behind her and the Titans.  Molik, the Krea and the Tyrant Commander deployed behind the Nihilators, and the Paingivers deployed behind them.  The Drake went out on my left side near the wall, where it could help claim my flag, and spray down some Long Riders.

I deploy in a tight line to claim the center, and spread out toward my objective from there.

And with that, we were off.

Turn 1: Trollbloods

Jarl cast Tactical Supremacy on the Long Riders, and Quicken on the Kriel Warriors, and advanced.  The Long Riders and Runeshapers ran forward.  The Fell Caller used Overcome on the Kriel Warriors to help them get through the woods, and ran.  The Warbeasts and Horthol all ran.  The Kriel Warriors dashed 16" up the flank.  The Rune Bearer ran too.  At the end of the turn, the Long Riders used their Tactical Supremacy move to go laterally, in front of the Runeshapers.

Caleb's Trollkin dash up the table.
Yikes.  When did Trolls get to be the fastest faction?  Caleb's army was well deployed, and threatening far up the field.  Time to run up at take a few charges on the chin.  (When I finally buy the Nihilators, then I'll really have the chins for it).

A truly majestic chin.  I found this guy at Forge, Foundry and Crucible, a painting blog a lot of cool looking models on it.  (I don't know the blogger, I just used an image search, but he deserves credit.)

Turn 1: Skorne

The Nihilators ran, as did the Drake.  The Gladiator Rushed the Bronzeback and trampled up, and the Bronzeback ran.  The Tyrant Commander used Press Forward on Makeda and the Court, and ran up near the wall with the Standard Bearer.  Makeda and the Court advanced, and Makeda cast Vortex of Destruction, put 3 Fury on the Agonizer, and camped one for herself.  The Agonizer ran across the table (I'd misdeployed it pretty badly) to counter Caleb's Beasts.  The Krea cast Paralytic Aura and charged into a pocket I'd made near both Titans, as well as Makeda and the Court.  The Paingivers walked up and managed Fury.

I spread out and prepare to take the charge.

Not a bad turn of positioning.  Caleb's list was too fast for me to really snag any scenario points, but if he committed next turn, I'd be able to counter with all my Warbeasts intact, and do some serious damage to him.  I was also pretty sure he couldn't kill off all my Nihilators, so I'd have a bit of a screen left after this turn.

Turn 2: Trollbloods

Jarl upkept both spells.  The Long Riders activated first, and used Bull Rush to slam the leading Nihilators into the back lines.  They killed 3 overall, and knocked down Makeda with a flying Nihilator, inflicting 6 damage on her with a good roll.  The Fell Caller gave the Kriel Warriors Pathfinder again, and ran upfield.  The Kriel Warriors charged into the Nihilators' flank, and killed two more.  The Rune Bearer moved up, and cast Quicken on the Runeshapers.  Jarl moved up, cast Magic Bullet on himself, and shot Makeda One of her Guardians Shield Guarded the shot, and Caleb used Magic Bullet to kill a Paingiver.  He took another shot at Makeda, but did no damage.  Then he used his Feat to summon 4 clouds across his front line, and a 5th on top of the Runeshapers to lower my attack rolls if I could get to Jarl.

The Rune Bearers advanced, and killed another 2 Nihilator with Rock Hammers.  The Impaler advanced, and used Far Strike on the Bomber, which advanced, and killed a second Paingiver in a scattering blast.  The Mauler advanced to support the other trolls, and Horthol hooked around, ready to start damaging my objective next turn.  The Long Riders finished up by advancing just in front of the Runebearers with Tactical Supremacy, well behind the first line of clouds.

Caleb lurks behind a defensive line of clouds.

I had taken some damage to my screen, and Makeda had taken some damage as well, but I was still reasonably intact.  The Nihilators were expended, but now my heavy hitters - most notably Makeda and Molik - were in a position to do some damage.

Turn 2: Skorne

Makeda upkept Vortex of Destruction and shook off Knocked Down.  The three surviving Nihilators advanced, and two of them killed a Kriel Warrior a piece, while the 3rd walked into formation.  The Tyrant Commander used Press Forward on Makeda's unit, and ran up to the wall, while the Standard Bearer ran up to Horthol to engage him.  Makeda's unit walked forward, one Exalted Guardian engaging two Kriel Warriors, and Makeda herself engaging two Long Riders and two Runeshapers.  Makeda killed the one of the Long Riders, and Blood Booned Ground Zero, forcing both the Runeshapers to pass Tough checks, and scratching up the other Long Rider with a lowish roll.

At this point there was a question about Vortex of Destruction and melee range across an enemy base, and after that was settled, I'd completely forgotten about the push effect from Ground Zero (despite the fact that it had been a part of my plan originally), so everything stayed in place :P.  The turn would have ended up a bit differently if I'd remembered it, but probably not too differently.  Next time I'll keep it in mind.

Since everything was still there, and I didn't want Makeda taking Free Strikes on her way out, I decided to Feat, and she killed the second Long Rider and both Runeshapers with melee attacks, and her Exalted Guardian killed both Kriel Warriors she'd Engaged with, and gave Makeda 2 more points of Fury.  Makeda cast Fate Walker, put one on the Agonizer, and camped 3.

Molik barely had LoS around the edge of a cloud to the Bomber, and might be able to Side Step into Jarl, so I needed to clear a path for him.  The Drake advanced, and Sprayed the last Long Rider and Runeshaper, killing them both, and giving Makeda a Fury.  The Bronzeback ran on the diagonal toward the remaining Kriel Warriors.  The Krea moved up, used Paralytic Aura and shot at Jarl, but was just out of range, and Jarl Evasively dodged 2" away from other Trollblood models.  The Gladiator advanced and Rushed Molik to let him hop the wall and give him extra speed.  The two surviving Paingivers Enraged Molik, and Conditioned the Gladiator.  Then Molik charged the Bomber, and side stepped to where he could also attack the Impaler.  He killed both, and used Fate Walker.  Finally, the Agonizer advanced, and wailed Gnawing Pain, which might save Molik from the Mauler.  Then Makeda Fate Walked back to a protected pocket near the Krea, and Molik Fate Walked straight back to near the Agonizer.

A really strong turn.  It will be hard for Caleb to come back from this.

That had been a brutal turn, and Caleb was really on the the back foot now.  He hadn't rolled well with his Tough checks, and now his strong center units were dead, as well as two of his beasts and most of his firepower.  Makeda was out of reach and rocking 4 transfers now, so he had no angle to assassinate her.  He'd have to play for scenario, and hope to do enough damage to my heavies to be able to pull through.

Turn 3: Trollbloods

Jarl dropped his upkeeps.  The Runebearer put Harmonious Exaltation on him.  Jarl cast Magic Bullet on himself, advanced, and shot the Agonizer.  The shot was Shield Guarded by an Exalted Guardian, and Jarl directed the Magic Bullet into the Agonizer, doing some damage, but failing to kill it.  Jarl then cast Magic Bullet again, and shot at the second Exalted Guardian near the Kriel Warriors, but missed with a terrible roll.  He also put Quicken on the Mauler to give it range to Molik.  The Mauler put Rage on itself, and charged in.  It nearly killed Molik, leaving him at just 4 boxes.  The Fell Caller called for Pathfinder on the Kriel Warriors with Overcome, and sprayed at the Exalted Guardian and Nihilators blocking them, but missed.  The Kriel Warriors charged the Exalted Guardian and her Nihilator friends as well as the Bronzeback and Molik Karn.  The first one had to move at Molik, so the Bronzeback Counter-Charged it, getting further upfield, and close to Jarl, but failing to kill the Tough Kriel Warrior.  The Caber Thrower who'd charged the Bronzeback missed, but the remaining Kriel Warriors finished off the last 3 Nihilators.  Finally, Horthol charged in and finished Molik Karn.

The Bronzeback and Krea are in the classic "butt first" melee posture Paingivers instill in their beasts from an early age.

Caleb had done some damage, but not nearly enough.  He'd really needed to clear out the Exalted Guardian and two Nihilators near her to get his Kriel Warriors in to jam me, and his dice had deserted him at a critical juncture.  The Bronzeback was right next to Jarl, and that's never a good sign.

Turn 3: Skorne

Makeda upkept Vortex of Destruction, then the Krea and Drake both Frenzied.  The Krea killed the Kriel Warrior next to her, and the Drake chewed ineffectually at Horthol.  The Tyrant Commander advanced, put Press Forward on Makeda's unit, and missed the Mauler with his halberd.  Makeda and her Exalted Guardian advanced to make attacks on the Caber Thrower engaging the Bronzeback, and killed it, then the Bronzeback advanced, and killed Jarl (although it did come down to the last attack).

Being next to a Bronzeback is never good.

Victory to the Skorne!


I played a strong game this time, and while I made mistakes, they were generally pretty small (except lining Makeda up perfectly for a slam into her, no idea what I was thinking there).  I should have been decisive on Makeda's second turn, and Feated earlier.  In a timed format, Makeda's Feat is probably best used to eliminate a few critical pieces rather than try to live the dream and kill everyone with one or two models.  If I'd Feated right away, my activations with the unit would have been cleaner, and I would have been able to do more with Makeda than I did.  A possibility I ignored was to Fate Walker Molik toward Jarl on turn 2.  I'm not entirely sure it would have been better than dragging the Mauler into my threat ranges by forcing it to take out Molik, but it's a possibility I should have thought about.  I also might have considered ignoring my drive to assassinate on turn 3, and gone for the Mauler with my Bronzeback.  The assassination run almost didn't work out because of bad dice, and even though it seemed like a sure thing, it came down to the last Tough check.  If I'd charged and taken out the Mauler, Caleb would have been in an impossible position, with no answer to my heavies or Makeda.

I really liked the way this list fit together.  The Nihilators are a great screen, although I'd forgotten quite how low Cmd 7 is on the tabletop.  The Tyrant Commander was the MVP for me this game.  The extra movement on Makeda turned my second turn from a move up and consolidate sort of turn into a decisive one where I gutted Caleb's army and retreated to safety.  The Basilisk Drake also performed well.  I'm considering Hakaar instead of the Drake, because he'd make a good buddy for Makeda, but the magic spray and extra transfer sink might be too good.  I'll try it both ways and see.

Caleb's only big mistake was underestimating my abilities on his second turn.  He'd set up where he thought he would be safe, but I was still able to reach his Long Riders with Makeda, and his Warbeasts with Molik.  I have some thoughts about how he could have set up differently, but I'm going to see what other people think he should have done on his second turn in the first 4+ Tough Warmachine Puzzle [link to be added soon!].  He definitely should have checked Molik's line of sight, and placed his last cloud to block it.  Losing the Bomber and Impaler locked Caleb into a bad position, even though he killed Molik on his next turn.  Given how fast the big Kriel Warriors unit ended up being I might also have deployed them centrally, or opposite my flag.  They would have jammed the middle up, or locked me out of any scenario points on my own flag.  They might also have killed off my objective after a couple of turns.  Caleb wanted to try deploying the Long Riders in the middle of the table where they'd have full range of the field, and they're definitely a big enough threat for that to be a good move.  I don't know the army well enough to say, but I definitely would have felt more pressure from the Kriel Warriors if they'd kept a little more toward the center.

Caleb's list is good.  I'd say it isn't missing anything in particular, except that it really wants max Long Riders.  I'd drop the Runeshapers to fit them in.  The Runeshapers are certainly nice, but the Bomber and Magic Bullet are a good enough infantry sweeping team, and Critical Knockdown from Rock Hammer isn't a reason to take them in and of itself.  He had also originally written a slightly modified version of the list with Janissa and a light beast (a Slag Troll I think) instead of a Mauler.  I think this list can definitely do well with that setup, although I wouldn't take it against a beast heavy brick like my list without solid armor cracking like the Mauler provides.  Otherwise, this is a deceptively fast Troll list with a lot of jamming potential, strong firepower, and some very hard hitting melee models.  With a little more practice, I'd say Caleb has Jarl figured out.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Battle Report: Mordikaar vs. The Old Witch at 35pts

Here is a game I played this past Tuesday.  There's a 35pt tournament coming up soon, so Caleb H and I played a 35pt game.  The Skorne Community Forum is abuzz with talk of Mordikaar, so I decided to give him another whirl.  No pics this time unfortunately.  I got carried away and forgot about them.

I ran:

Void Seer Mordikaar (+5)
*Bronzeback Titan (10)
*Basilisk Krea (4)

6 Cataphract Cetrati (11)
10 Praetorian Swordsmen (6)
*Officer and Standard Bearer (2)
6 Paingiver Bloodrunners (5)
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2)

This is a lot heavier on the infantry than most of my 35pt lists, and I'm a little nervous at having only one heavy.  Mordikaar has a great attrition game, but he isn't one of the Warlocks who can get infantry to remove enemy heavies easily like Xerxis or Zaal.  I'll also have limited options against high-Def.  On the other hand, this list will be quite a slog for my opponent.  The Bloodrunners form an early jam, and get Mordikaar a couple of Soul Tokens from Hollow.  The Swordsmen and Cetrati follow up, getting in the way and being difficult to remove.  Revive can keep all three units around a lot longer than they otherwise would be.

My opponent, Caleb H, ran:

Zevanna Agha, The Old Witch of Khador (+3)
*Behemoth (13)
*Scrapjack (-)
*Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker (2)

Cylena Raefyll and 9 Nyss Hunters (10)
6 Iron Fang Pikemen (5)
*Black Dragon Officer and Standard (2)
Lady Aiyanna and Master Holt (4)

Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist (2)

I consider this pretty standard for Old Witch.  There are two attrition units, either of which can be given annoyingly high Def with Iron Flesh, and both of which hit hard.  Behemoth provides good ranged support, and Old Witch gives it the ability to shoot through forests.  The Mercs are all solid, and help the list deal with heavy threats or augment the Witch's ability to sling Gallows around and camp.  Overall, this seems like a strong scenario list.  Old Witch brings a lot of denial with her Feat and Murder of Crows, and the list is pretty well suited to slogging it out with high-Def Nyss and high-Def and high-Arm Iron Fangs.  The only tool for countering another high-Def list is Behemoth, but two 3" AoE's is pretty good, especially for 35pts.

Scenario and Deployment:

We rolled up the first scenario: Everyone Run into the Middle and Stay There Until One 'Caster Falls Down Destruction.  There's one small rectangular zone in the center of the battlefield with a monolith at each corner - two friendly and two enemy.  Destroying an enemy monolith gets you a point, but you can only damage one enemy monolith per turn.  Controlling the zone gets you a point, and dominating it gets you two.

Caleb won the roll-off, and chose to go second.  The table was very symmetrical: each side had a low wall in front of the zone (but annoyingly outside of the killbox) and a forest and hill around the zone's corners.

I deployed my Swordsmen in the center-right, and my Cetrati, beasts and Mordikaar in the center-left.  The Idea was to jam the zone, and then continue to jam it using Hollow and Revive until I'd worn Caleb's army down enough to take a shot at the Old Witch.  My Bloodrunners went in front of the Cetrati when the time came for Advance Deploy.

Caleb deployed the Iron Fangs in the center with Aiyanna and Holt and Gorman behind them, and put Behemoth in the center-right (from my perspective).  Old Witch, Scapjack and Sylys went on the center-left.  The Nyss Hunters deployed on the left, to hook around the zone toward the Cetrati.

Turn 1: Skorne

Most of the army ran.  The Krea used Paralytic Aura and charged.  Mordikaar advanced and put Hollow on the Bloodrunners and Banishing Ward on the Cetrati.

The Bloodrunners were far up, and getting ready to jam the Khadorans on my next turn.  They might get me a bunch of Fury with Hollow if Caleb decided to attack them.

Turn 1: Khador

Old Witch allocated 3 Focus to Behemoth.  Most of Caleb's army ran.  The Old Witch teleported up behind one of the forests near the zone and used her Feat, Field of Talons, catching much of the area my army would be moving into.  She may have put Weald Secrets on Behemoth, but I forget.  Behemoth trampled forward, got some shots off on the Swordsmen, and killed one.

My one-wound infantry would be pinned in place by the Old Witches Feat next turn.  I'd start moving troops into the zone though, to prevent Caleb from jamming me out of it with Iron Flesh infantry on his next turn.

Turn 2: Skorne

Mordikaar kept up his spells.  The Cetrati moved up in shield wall, and toed into the Zone.  Mordikaar used his Feat to give me some defense against the Alpha Strike, and Revived the dead Swordsman into the zone.  The Krea used her aura and advanced, and the Bronzeback ran a little.  The Paingivers stayed out of range or still, and Medicated the beasts.

That was it.  I was pretty adequately protected by my Feat, but Caleb could still get to me.  We'd see what transpired next turn.

Turn 2: Khador

Old Witch allocated 3 to Behemoth.    The Nyss advanced, and fired two big CRA's at the Bloodrunners, but one missed, and the other Bloodrunner passed its Tough check.  Aiyanna advanced and cast Kiss of Lylyss on the Swordsmen to reduce their armor, and Holt aimed and killed one.  Behemoth trampled up and damaged the objective with Bombards, killing one Swordsman in the crossfire.  The Iron Fangs Shield Walled, and attacked the Cetrati, killing one with a big CRA, and coming up short on the other.  Scrapjack attacked some Bloodrunners, but missed, and Old Witch put Iron Flesh on the Iron Fang Pikemen, and summoned a Murder of Crows in front of the Nyss.  Gorman advanced, and put a cloud over himself.

That was reasonably painless.  I'd be getting my masses of infantry into melee next turn, and I hoped to do some damage.  It was down to the slog now.  And protecting our 'casters of course.

Turn 3: Skorne

Mordikaar upkept his spells.  The Bloodrunners attacked a few Nyss and some Iron Fangs, and killed one Iron Fang and one Nyss.  The Krea used Paralytic Aura, and walked up to debuff some Iron Fangs.  Mordikaar Revived a Swordsman into the Iron Fangs' rear arc.  The Swordsmen advanced, used Perfect Strike to ignore Shield Wall, and killed 2.  The Cetrati stayed in Shield Wall, did 2 2-Cataphract CMA's and killed one more Iron Fang.  The Bronzeback advanced to a better position.

The Nyss would be able to charge the Bronzeback next turn, but I was hoping they'd roll low, and it would live.  Otherwise, I was in an ok position.  Revive would put me ahead on the attrition war soon enough, and with back strikes, I was getting around Iron Flesh on the Pikemen.

Turn 3: Khador

Old Witch and Sylys upkept Iron Flesh, but let Murder of Crows drop.  Old Witch allocated 1 to Behemoth's cortex, and 3 to its subcortex.  Aiyanna threw Kiss of Lylyss on the Bronzeback, and Holt shot up another Swordsman.  Behemoth charged and destroyed the right objective, and lobbed some Bombard shots into Mordikaar, who transferred one solid hit to the Bronzeback, and took some damage from a second hit.   The Nyss charged into the Bronzeback, and killed it dead.  They also killed two Bloodrunners, so one Soul Token to Mordikaar.  The surviving Iron Fangs attacked the Cetrati, but didn't do enough damage to kill a second one.  Gorman advanced, and threw Black oil at an un-engaged Cataphract, blinding it and its neighbor.  Scrapjack continued to fight a Bloodrunner without results.

Note to self: never hope.  Losing the Bronzeback was bad.  It's the list's finisher, and I really needed something that could contend with Behemoth.  Well, I'd have to try to wrap this up quickly.  Unfortunately, the Old Witch was well hidden behind that forest.

Turn 4: Skorne

I had little choice but to slog on with the game.  Mordikaar let both Hollow and Banishing Ward drop.  The Bloodrunners took out another Iron Fang as well as a 5th.  The Swordsmen took out the last two non-Standard Bearer Iron Fangs.  I'd used a few Side Steps and Shadowplays to move my troops within Essence Blast range of the Old Witch.  I was thinking that if I hit with the Krea, I could possibly assassinate her this turn. The Cetrati tried to take out the last one with a 3-man CMA, but rolled snake eyes.  That was ok.  The Krea moved up, and shot at the Old Witch with Spiritual Paralysis, but missed.  After that, Caleb reminded me that I wouldn't have been able to attack the Old Witch with Essence Blast anyway, because my models didn't have LoS (which is good to keep in mind).  Mordikaar aimed, and killed the four Nyss who'd charged the Bronzeback with his Death Blast (regaining 6 hit boxes, thanks Life Drinker!), then cast Hollow on the Swordsmen, and Revived 2 of them into combat with Gorman and Aiyanna.

Holding on....  Behemoth was still a major problem, but I was winning the infantry war, and Caleb was running out of non-Behemoth models to kill them.

Turn 4: Khador

Caleb dropped Iron Flesh from the Black Dragon Standard Bearer, and Behemoth's Subcortex got 2 Focus.  Aiyanna cast Kiss of Lylyss at the Krea, while Holt charged and killed a Swordsman, and shot the Krea for moderate damage.  Gorman gave the Swordsman in combat with him some googly eyes.  Sylys put Arcane Secrets on the Old Witch.  The Old Witch channeled Gallows through Scrapjack and the Krea, doing more damage, and put Iron Flesh on the Nyss Hunters.  The Nyss advanced (one dying to a lucky Bloodrunner Free Strike), and CRA'd into Mordikaar, but rolled low for damage.  Behemoth aimed, and shot Mordikaar with the Bombards, forcing him to kill the Krea with transfers.

Ok.  Now I was out of beasts, which was really no good.  Old Witch was still hidden, and I still didn't have much to do about Behemoth.

Turn 5: Skorne

Mordikaar spent one of his precious remaining Fury points to upkeep Hollow.  The Cataphracts advanced in Shield Wall to screen Mordikaar from Behemoth.  The Swordsmen spread out to kill off Gorman, and Holt, and wound Aiyanna and Sylys.  They also did a few incidental damage points to Behemoth with Penetrating Strike.  Mordikaar aimed and shot the Nyss again, but missed this time.  No more hit points for him.  The Bloodrunners and Paingivers mobbed the surviving Nyss, and managed to kill one more.

Progress?  Next turn I'd charge the Cetrati into Behemoth and see if they could do enough damage, but I was a little doubtful.  They can pull something like that off in a couple of turns if a few are revived into good charge positions.

Turn 5: Khador

Behemoth's Subcortex got 2 Focus.  It turns out Behemoth has Arcing Fire, and it merrily shelled Mordikaar over the Cetrati's heads.  He exploded.

Victory to Khador!


I made one really serious mistake which ended up costing me the game, and that was exposing my Bronzeback early.  Losing the Bronzeback meant that I had no good answer to Behemoth.  That in turn put a lot of pressure on Mordikaar from Bombard shells I really had no answer for.  It would not have been too hard to gum Behemoth up with Swordsmen and get the Bronzeback into it.  Otherwise, I used my infantry well enough.  Revive is a fantastic spell, and just a few bodies started giving me the leg up on attrition.

I like the list, but I'm not sure the Bloodrunners have a place in it.  They're certainly good, and it's nice to have a Hollow target with AD to jam opponents that much earlier.  They might be the sort of thing I'd want to add in at 50pts though, and spend those 5pts getting myself some extra support at 35.  This game, an Agonizer would have been really helpful.  For that matter, so would a second heavy.  Mordikaar is a lot of fun, but I definitely need to practice and see what lists work best for him.

Caleb played a tight game.  He kept the Old Witch safe, and didn't expose her trying to get a bunch of Soul Tokens - she hid behind a forest and supported her army through Scrapjack.  He got an advantage on turn 3 when he killed my Bronzeback, and exploited it consistently until he was able to win.

I'm not sure about Caleb's list for Old Witch, and he wasn't 100% happy with it either.  I feel he may be spending too much on support with both Aiyanna and Holt and Gorman di Wulfe.  The Iron Fangs' attrition potential would definitely be significantly better if they could take a max unit.  Then again, Kiss of Lylyss is what let the Nyss finish off the Bronzeback (doing just enough damage with 4 charging in), so A&H definitely help out.  Behemoth is great with Old Witch, although I can see replacing him with a cheaper ranged 'jack.  Gorman's the only model who didn't do much this game, but that was mainly due to having no good targets outside of one shot at 2 Cetrati.

Sorry about the lack of pictures.  I really am trying to be better about them, but I keep forgetting once the game starts up.  Tomorrow is WM night again for me, so I'll try to remember then.

Thanks for reading.