Tuesday, October 29, 2013

BRCT Game 2: Dominar Rasheth vs. Morvahna the Dawnshadow

I played another Vassal game for the Battle Report Community Tournament this past Friday morning.  This time, my opponent was Seraph, who was playing Circle Orboros.  Once again, my list options were Rasheth's Chain Gang theme force at Tier 2, and Mordikaar with a bunch of infantry and the Despoiler.  Seraph had brought two infantry heavy lists: eMorvahna and Grayle.

Our matchup was more or less predetermined going in.  On my end, I knew Mordikaar wouldn't be able to deal with eMorvahna, but that Rasheth had a good chance.  As for Seraph's lists, Morvahna had the attrition and hitting power to grind out a game against Rasheth's Titans with a good chance of success, while Grayle would have a much harder time.

When the time came to choose specialists, Seraph swapped in the Gatorman Witch Doctor, because just handing out Undead does so much against Rasheth.  So going in, I knew I'd be up against eMorvahna with a Witch Doc, and I knew I'd pick Rasheth, since only Rasheth could deal with eMorv.  I chose not to sub in any specialists, because I really like the way my list fits together.  I'll have to be up against a pretty extreme skew list before I drop anything from it.

Here are the lists:

Dominar Rasheth (+5) - Chain Gang Tier 2
*Bronzeback Titan (9)
*Titan Cannoneer (8)
*Titan Gladiator (7)
5 Gatormen Posse (9)
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2)
Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew (1)
Agonizer (2)
Paingiver Task Master (2)

Morvahna the Dawnshadow (+5)
*Warpwolf Stalker (10)
*Gorax (4)
5 Warpborn Skinwalkers (8)
*Warpborn Alpha (3)
6 Tharn Blood Pack (10)
Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew (1)
Gatorman Witch Doctor (3)
Gallows Grove (1)

We ended up playing Incursion - 3 flags in the middle of the battlefield, and a randomly determined one disappears at the end of round 1.

And here's the report.  I've decided to write this one up as a narrative from Jhorvash's perspective again.  Enjoy!

Jhorvash crouched behind her gatormen.  The Dominar had led his column further east, into human lands.  A second force, led by Tyrant Daakrun and Void Seer Mordikaar was to have supported Telarr's advance, but Jhorvash suspected Lord Rasheth had pushed his troops beyond their reach.

The reason had become clear a few hours ago, when the army had reached a substantial clearing in the woodlands.  The massive, forbidding trees had been felled, leaving a wide swathe of open land with forest looming all around.  In the center was a human construction - two lines of iron with enormous carts resting atop them.  Jhorvash was unclear as to its purpose, but she was not surprised the Dominar had come to investigate.  He was obsessed with human machines.  And why not?  Theirs was a culture where the wealthy obeyed no code save the tug of their own purses, and thrived.  

Lord Rasheth must have come to inspect the contraption without interference from Imperial agents.  Whatever plans he had for the device, he didn't want any of his fellow Skorne to find out.

At first, the site had seemed abandoned, but telltale signs of a short, bloody struggle soon became apparent.  The clearing had been lightly guarded, if at all, and the attackers had left no bodies behind them.  

For a while, Jhorvash dared to hope that the attackers had moved on, but soon an eerie howling filled the darkness under the treeline, and tall shapes began to emerge.  Jhorvash turned her attention to her new charges, still not fully responsive to her barbs, and began whipping them into some semblance of a battle line.

Our deployment.  We're both ready to spread out and contest any of the two flags.

The enemy troops fanned out as they advanced.  Their leader, a sorceress riding an agile horned creature of some sort, called up a cloak of fog to shroud her army's advance, chanting in a high, doleful voice.  Her soldiers were savage, feral-looking creatures neither human nor beast.  This must be one of the dirt-mystics Jhorvash had heard of.  

She sneered.  Warriors and mortitheurges were so confident of their own superiority.  Whenever they encountered something new, they spent almost as much effort degrading it as they did trying to kill it.  Now one of these dirt-mystics had neatly engaged Lord Rasheth's vanguard far from his reserves.  Jhorvash hoped the Dominar had a plan of some sort.  Otherwise, they would all share the fate of whatever humans had been here before.

Seraph runs forward.  Morvahna casts Carnivore on the Skinwalkers, and puts up Fog of War.

Jhorvash spurred her charges toward the enemy.  One broke ranks with the rest, and Jhorvash hissed.  It was eager to meet its death, a common flaw in new slaves.  A few more weeks with these gators, and they would be past such small rebellions.

Lord Rasheth's titans lumbered forward.  The cannoneer's mighty gun boomed, and Jhorvash saw the ball sail into the fog, followed by shrill screams from within.  The Dominar directed his mortitheurgy through the errant gatorman, which bellowed in pain as blood gushed from its nose and mouth.  Whether Lord Rasheth's sorcery struck its intended target, Jhorvash could not see.

[I forgot to grab a screenshot for this turn.  I run one Gator in position to try to arc a spell at the Witch Doc, but it's barely out of range.  The Cannoneer shoots at a Tharn, but is out of range.  Fortunately, the shot scatters into the Swamp Gobbers and Morvahna, and the Gobbers die.  The left flag disappears.]

The dirt-mystic's forces continued to charge.  Warped creatures with heavy armor and pole-axes killed the errant gator.  Others, more lightly clad, peppered Rasheth's titan gladiator with massive bows, and the creature bellowed in pain.

A stunted tree, decorated with grisly trophies, suddenly appeared in the mist, and mystical power shot from its branches to the gladiator, driving the titan mad with pain.

Seraph focuses down the Gladiator, and nails it with Sunder Spirit to deny me access to Rush.  The Witch Doc Zombifies the Skinwalkers.

The cannoneer's gun sounded again, and Jhorvash saw a spray of dirt fly out of the fog in front of her.  She lashed the gators into a killing rage, and ordered them to charge into the mist at the axe-wielding brutes, but the gators lacked the quick, mindless obedience so critical in enslaved troops, and accomplished little.

Lord Rasheth raised a hand as the trained infant titans who bore his lectica carried him forward.  His voice became the sound of a million of buzzing flies, and the enemy troops began to cough black fluid.  Another incantation sent one of the bestial arches choking to the ground.  A third restored much of the gladiator's vigor.

The beast smashed into another of the archers, and sent its lifeless body careening into a looming shape in the haze.

Rasheth Feats and Cannoneer Diminishes to blunt Seraph's counterattack.  The Gators nibble at the Skinwalkers and kill the Gallows Grove.  The Gladiator (with Carnivore) tries to slam-follow up into the Warpwolf Stalker, but the Tharn target dies.

The wall of conjured fog broke, and Jhorvash saw the mystic herself gallop forward, bleeding as though from a thousand tiny cuts.  She charged the enslaved bokor, and cut him down with a single blow.  As she struck, a wave of power swept the field, scouring much of Lord Rasheth's mortitheurgy.  

The Dominar's plague, however, was too vile to be magicked away, and the mystic's troops wasted under its power.  The axe-wielding warriors could not manage to bring down a single gator, though one of them pressed into the opening their leader had made, and slew Lord Rasheth's agonizer.  The archers leaped into the gladiator, but failed to down it with bow or blade.

Finally, a huge wolf-like creature charged from where it had been lurking, and finished the gladiator despite the sickness wracking its frame.

Morvahna Purifies, and her army does what it can, but that's not much between Rasheth's Feat and some aweful dice.  The Skinwalker who killed the Agoniser also makes the Beast Handlers flee with Terror.

Jhorvash pushed her gators to new heights or strength and bloodlust, and their slave conditioning began to take hold.  They finished off several more of the creatures they faced, and began to consolidate their position.

Lord Rasheth also seemed to be doing well.  He used his mortitheurgy to drop the savage warrior who had broken through, and instilled his bronzeback with an unnatural hunger for blood and flesh.

The bull titan gored the dirt-mystic's wolf creature to death, then rampaged through her archers, stuffing hunks of dripping meat into its mouth as it went.  Though the creature's rampage had secured the Dominar's left flank, Jhorvash did not envy its handlers.  She knew that they would bear the burden of sorting out the creature's digestion in the coming days.

I start to pull ahead in attrition, killing the Stalker and most of the Circle infantry.  But there's still eMorv's Feat to contend with.

The mystic's army was in shambles, but this only seemed to harden her resolve.  She rode forward again, blood raining from her limbs as she called upon her power.

Jhorvash looked on as the warriors her charges had killed sprang back to life at the mystic's direction.  They arose around Lord Rasheth and his Beast Handlers, howling with fury.

The strange tree Jhorvash had seen before sprung from the ground behind the Dominar, and the mystic sent her magic through its branches again.  Her power slammed into Lord Rasheth again and again, and he quaked and wailed with pain on his lectica.

The Dominar raised his head, and looked directly at Jhorvash.  She steeled herself, knowing what she must do.  She shouldered her weapon, and ran toward the mounted sorceress.  When it came, Jhorvash was ready.  She let the agony wash over her as blood poured from her nose and mouth.  She watched as the Dominar's mortitheurgy closed around the mystic in a cloud of entropy, and heard a final cry of pain and anger from within.

When the cloud dissipated, only the horned creature's rotted cadaver and a few scraps of cloth remained.  Whatever resolved the mystic's troops possessed broke, and they fled into the woods.

Rasheth channels Breath of Corruption through the Task Master, and Morvahna dies at last.

Victory to the Skorne!


That was a hard-fought game.  Both Seraph and I ran solid attrition lists, and neither of us gave up a single scenario point.  We both played pretty well.  Seraph made a couple of minor mistakes which ended up adding up.  The only major one was on Morvahna's assassination run with the Gallows Grove on the last turn.  The dice came up pretty short, but if Morvahna had returned fewer warriors with her Feat, she would have had more health while casting spells (she was at 3).  Then she would have been able to cut herself for damage rerolls, and Rasheth might have died.  I suppose Seraph was still thinking about the attrition and scenario game when Morv was returning Skinwalkers, but her assassination run was definitely shortchanged.

One thing I definitely should have done differently was trample the Gladiator up to the fallen log linear obstacle on turn 1.  Then it would have had Cover against the Blood Pack attacks, and would have taken far less damage.  Sunder Spirit might also have missed, which would have made my second turn significantly easier.

In my first game, the dice favored me pretty unfairly.  This game, they crapped all over both of us.  (Actually, the best roll all game was probably the scatter range and direction on that early Cannoneer shot.)  It got to be pretty pathetic, but it probably ended up enabling my win at the end.  If the luck hadn't been so terrible, Morvahna wouldn't have needed to use Scales of Fate so much for rerolls (which didn't do a whole lot for her to be honest... dice... yeesh).  And she wouldn't have been at such low health when I cast Breath of Corruption to finish her off.

I'm really starting to get the hang of Vassal, though ranges are still a little hard for me to judge (and I keep forgetting to turn off that "show your CTRL" button after I use it).  I could definitely see myself using it more often, especially when work gets super busy like it has this past month, and I can't make it down to Tower for 3 weeks in a row.

As for the tournament, I'm looking forward to round 3, where I'll hopefully get a matchup where I wouldn't mind fielding Mordikaar.  I've played the Void Seer a couple of times before and he is lots of fun.

Thanks to Seraph, who was an awesome opponent!

Friday, October 18, 2013

BRCT Game 1: Dominar Rasheth vs. Saeryn, Omen of Everblight

This is my first Battle Report Community Tournament report.  I played this past Thursday morning against Lich Lord Kier.  I brought Rasheth's Chain Gang theme force at tier 2 and Mordikaar with the Despoiler.  Kier brought the ninja twins, Saeryn and Rhyas.  Saeryn was running beast-heavy to take advantage of her feat, while Rhyas had an infantry-heavy tier 4 Rearguard force.

Going into the game, I knew 2 things.  First, that Rasheth had the tools to deal with Saeryn, and second, that Mordikaar did not.  So I went with Rasheth:

Dominar Rasheth (+5)
*Bronzeback Titan (9)
*Titan Cannoneer (8)
*Titan Gladiator (7)
5 Gatormen Posse (9)
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2)
Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew (1)
Agonizer (2)
Paingiver Task Master (2)

Kier went with Saeryn, since both my lists are overwhelmingly melee-oriented, and her Feat is absolutely paralyzing against melee armies.

Saeryn, Omen of Everblight (+5)
*Scythean (9)
*Scythean (9)
*Angelius (9)
*Shredder (2)
Anyssa Ryvaal, Talon of Everblight (4)
The Forsaken (2)
The Forsaken (2)
3 Spell Martyrs (3)

And now the game.  I ended up only taking screen caps at the end of my own turns.  After Kiers,' I was usually too busy plotting my next moves, and forgot.  I also forgot to take a screen cap of deployment.  Hopefully, I'll remember to take all the pictures in the next games.

As promised, the report is written up as a story.  Hopefully, I manage to keep everything relatively clear.

Task Master Jhorvash watched her charges sprint toward the enemy.  Even without her urging, the savage gatormen would likely be running to sate their inborn bloodlust, but the fear of her lash lent them extra speed.  As they ran, their leader called up a mist to shroud their advance.  It was rare for slave species to be allowed to speak their own tongues, but the simple magics the gatormen bokors could call up added immeasurably to their usefulness in battle.  It was a fine line - too much freedom, and the slaves might rebel - but one Jhorvash walked expertly.  She was certain these gatormen would serve faithfully and well today.

Close by, Jhorvash's liege, Dominar Rasheth, was managing his titans with his customary aptitude.  He sent the cannoneer to the fore.  Its gun might slay a few of the enemy, and when the lines clashed, its death would buy time for the more powerful gladiator and bronzeback titans to destroy whatever had brought it down.  Lord Rasheth was a master of trade, even on the battlefield.

Jhorvash suffered no illusions about her own value to the Dominar.  It would be more expensive to replace the slaves.  

Crimson runes appeared around her gatormen's mouths and claws.  The Dominar's mortitheurgy, enhancing their natural appetite for bloodshed.  In battle, all their lives rested in Lord Rasheth's hands, and he carried them through or threw them away as he saw fit.

Most of the Skorne run.  The Gatormen get Carnivore, Dirge of Mists, and Temper Flesh (they're also Anyssa's Prey).

The enemy was a blighted toksaa leading a force of so-called dragonspawn.  Jhorvash had heard reports of tyrants who had faced such creatures before.  Supposedly, they had become a thorn in the Army's northern flank.

The toksaa servants ran forward.  One who rode a strange furred beast shot one of Jhorvaash's gators before skittering away.  Though the arrow sank deep into the gatorman's neck, it stayed up.  The others had no mounts or weapons, but were studded with jagged stones which glimmered ominously in the afternoon sun.

The dragonspawn moved forward with the speed of born predators, guided by their leader and a pair of even more disfigured toksaa.  Whatever sorcery they used seared Jhorvash's eyes, but she forced herself to look on as runes coalesced about the leader and her spawn.  As the blighted warlock worked, one of the crystal-studded toksaa erupted in a flare of power.  The blast was intended for the nearby gatormen, but vanished into the mist without finding its target.

Nothing was left of the toksaa but a heap of scorched and tattered flesh.  Jhorvash shuddered.  She was familiar enough with that technique.

[Kier's list mostly runs.  Respawn goes on the left Scythean, and Banishing Ward goes on Saeryn.  Saeryn will upkeep these spells for most of the game.  Saeryn also tries to Breath Stealer the Gatormen, but misses.]

Lord Rasheth ordered one of his gobber slaves forward.  He often took perverse pleasure in upstaging his enemies, and he wouldn't miss an opportunity like this.  The wretched creature's flesh sloughed off its diminutive frame as the Dominar's mortitheurgy coursed through it toward one of the lead dragonspawn, a loping monstrosity that looked like a modest armory of bone welded together by pale, rippling sinew.  As the Dominar's magic struck, the creature's scales buckled and began to ooze blood.

Seeing the beast's weakness, Jhorvash lashed her charges.  The pain drove them into a killing frenzy, and they ran snapping and hissing at the spawn.

As the maddened gators approached, a boom sounded from Jhorvash's right, and a cannon shell smashed into the dragonspawn's torso, staggering it.  Then the lead gators struck, giving full reign to their pain and bloodlust and despair.  When they were done, the beast was dead.  Jhorvash allowed herself a small smile.  Skorne warriors were fond of boasting about their exploits and sneering at the lesser castes, but how many could hope to fell such a monster?  Yet Jhorvash's slaves had done so in only a few strokes.  And it was she who had unlocked their full potential as instruments of death.

Rasheth casts Blood Mark at the right Scythean through a Gobber, and the Cannoneer and Gators finish it off!

The toksaa responded with an outpouring of malevolent power.  A small burst from another stone-crusted minion felled a gatorman, while the majority poured into her remaining beasts, lighting them up like torches of searing blight.

A winged beast and a twisted toksaa abomination slaughtered the gators who had felled their companion, while the toksaa rider cantered around a jutting pile of boulders to slaughter the last two slaves.  Jhorvash frowned.  Slaves were always sent first into battle, and they were always the first to die, but replacements took considerable time and skill to train.  Especially gatormen, whose pride had to be broken again and again.

A second bladed monstrosity charged Lord Rasheth's cannoneer.  Though it gouged long red furrows in the titan's flesh, none of its blows struck deep.  The creature had stumbled into the auras of pain around the warbeast and the Dominar's nearby agonizer, and the sympathetic waves of agony from the two titans sapped the dragonspawn's stength.

The other toksaa fanned out, claiming ground.  If they could hold it long enough, their reinforcements would be able to drive Lord Rasheth's army back.

[Kier focuses on wiping out the Gatormen and claiming the control zones.  Saeryn Feats to protect her battlegroup.  The remaining Scythean charges the Cannoneer, but Diminish and Gnawing Pain, as well as some bad luck on Kier's part, ensure the titan lives will all aspects intact.  Still, Kier has cleared the right zone, and the left is uncontested, so two points for the Legion.]

With her charges dead, Jhorvash's duty was to serve her lord as best she was able.  She charged the toksaa rider who had felled two of her slaves.  If Jhorvash could slay the rider, she could secure Lord Rasheth's flank - and exact some measure of retribution for the hours of work she had spent training the dead gators.  

The rider's nimble mount began to dash out of reach when a terrible pain seized Jhorvash from within, as though her organs had suddenly turned on one another with knives.  She stumbled to a halt, retching blood.  As she looked up, she saw the toksaa rider enveloped in a cloud of caustic gas.  Lord Rasheth's mortitheurgy at work again, directed through her body this time.  Still, Jhorvash could not suppress a grimace of satisfaction as she heard a wail of anguish from within the cloud, followed by the thump of flesh striking hard-packed earth.

Across the field, the Dominar urged his warbeasts to meet the toksaa flanking him on both fronts.  Though they moved at his direction, the titans refused to strike at the dragonspawn.  Whatever blazing power the creatures' blighted mistress had conjured up, the titans would not touch it.  Despite her pain, Jhorvash was glad she wasn't near enough to try her hand at attacking the spawn; she could barely stand to look at them from a distance, but Lord Rasheth would undoubtedly command her to fight.  Beasts who refused orders in battle might be disciplined brutally afterward.  Subordinates were executed.

The Dominar used one of his most terrible rituals to contaminate the enemy's blood with pestilence.  Though the toksaa and their twisted warbeasts weakened visibly, the titans still refused to attack them.  Thwarted, the Dominar directed his gladiator to seize the other gobber, and hurl it at the bladed spawn.  The slave was impaled on its bony spikes, but the creature barely registered the impact.

Jhorvash winced, still weak from Lord Rasheth's sorcery.  She had lived all her life with sacrifice, but she would never grow accustomed to the carelessness with the Dominar discarded his minions' lives.  The gobber was a mere slave, but how far above it did Jhorvash truly rank?  Low enough to be cast away in a fit of pique?  It seemed all too likely.

I contest the zones, and turtle up under Diminish and Rasheth's Feat.  The Agonizer is using Spiritual Affliction so the Angelius has no chance to Repulse the Bronzeback out of the zone.

Jhorvash surveyed the field.  She had to admit that Lord Rasheth had timed the battle well.  The mid-afternoon sun burned down overhead, and the parched ground of the battlefield held scarcely even a scrap of shade to alleviate the heat.  None of the Skorne were bothered.  These western climates always seemed mild compared to the march across the Bloodstone Desert.  But the blighted forces must have been used to colder weather, and were starting to flag.

Their leader urged her dragonspawn onward, but the creatures were sluggish to respond.  The bladed monster managed to finish the titan cannoneer, but was too dazed to turn is scything limbs on the nearby gladiator or paingivers.  The winged spawn flew at the bronzeback titan, but its blows were relatively feeble.

Once again, the toksaa warlock directed her power through one of her minions.  This time, when the jagged stones flared, a cloud of toxic blight surrounded the bladed dragonspawn, searing the titan gladiator's exposed flesh.  Jhorvash was struck by how similar the enemy's techniques were to her own lord's.  No doubt there was a world of difference in the technical natures of their respective magics, but they were nearly identical in there effects on soldiers, friend and foe alike.

The blighted toksaa abominations also advanced.  One drew power from the winged warbeast, while the other spewed it out in a wave of blighted energy at the gladiator.  The massive beast carried on, unhurt by the attack.

It seemed the tides of battle were turning.

[Saeryn's army only kills the Cannoneer.  Blight Bringer goes up on the Scythean.  Protection from Diminish and Rasheth's Feat help a lot, but so do the dice.  Kier needed this turn to be a big one, but the dice just said no.  It took most of the Scythean's juice to kill the Cannoneer, even with Bloodbath, and the number of 0-damage results rolled against the Gladiator and Bronzeback was pretty staggering too.]

The blighted power in the dragonspawn's flesh had burned out, and Lord Rasheth spurred his beasts to attack.  Jhorvash nodded in approval as her fellow beast handlers whipped the two surviving titans into a killing rage.

The gladiator turned its fists upon the bladed monster, and beat it to the ground.  Just when the dragonspawn's twitching had ceased, however, baleful runes blazed to life around it.  It was reborn in an explosion of gore, and lurched away before the titan could react.

Jhorvash adjusted quickly, trying to reach the beast before it could strike.  But Lord Rasheth was quicker still.  He sent the agonizer keening toward the respawned creature.  The stunted titan never noticed as new gashes appeared along its flanks and belly, and a stream of dark power poured out of it.  Such wounds would not register above the pain it felt every second from the barbs impaling its flesh.  The magic slammed into the bladed monster, and brought it low for good.

The Dominar bolstered his bronzeback's natural aggression with more mortitheurgy, and the bull titan smashed into the winged dragonspawn.  After goring the creature to death, the titan turned its attention to the blighted toksaa abomitation nearby, and crushed it with a single blow.

One side of the battlefield was now fully under House Telarr's control, and it wouldn't be long before the other fell.  Jhorvash eyed the toksaa warlock nervously.  Cornered enemies were always the most vicious and unpredictable.

I finish off the Legion heavies.  I score one point for controlling the right zone.

The toksaa's eyes narrowed, and she darted toward the gladiator.  She threw some sort of barbed weapon at the beast, but either the heat or the loss of her army spoiled her aim.  Her last remaining spawn, a slavering toothy creature about the size of a large hound, jogged after her.  The last of the toksaa abominations charged the titan in an effort to keep the beast away from its mistress, but its claws had little effect on the warbeast's armored hide.

[Kier is running out of options, and decides to try crippling my gladiator with Saeryn's Grievous Wounds dagger, but she misses.  The dice are really not liking Ker right now.  I also scored another point for controlling the right zone, bringing me to two.]

Jhorvash saw her chance, and charged at the toksaa warlock.  Her adversary was too nimble, however, and stepped aside.

Once again, Lord Rasheth sent his power through the agonizer, melting the toksaa abomination in a cloud of entropic corruption.  Then, he and his paingivers sent the gladiator stampeding toward the toksaa warlock.

Its fists pummeled her mercilessly, and though she was able to use her power to abdicate her wounds to her nearby spawn, the beast was soon overwhelmed, and the toksaa fell at the gladiator's feet.

Victory to the Skorne!


Well, I think Kier and I both played pretty well, but luck was with me all game.  Kier consistently rolled below average, and really tanked a few key rolls which might have given Saeryn the advantage.  Meanwhile, I consistently rolled average or better, meaning that all my key rolls went through.  The one notable dice spike I had also happened at one of the most decisive moments in the game: the two Gatormen and the Cannoneer taking out one of Kier's Scytheans with three attacks.  I can't think of any major screw-ups on either end, though there are a few activations I could have handled better, and Kier could probably say the same.

The list performed well.  The combination of Diminish and other damage debuffs is very reliable for keeping my beasts alive.  Rasheth's Dark Rituals were amazing this game.  The ability to channel spells through my hapless support models let me exert control wherever I needed it, and let me keep the upper hand throughout the game.

Thanks for a great game Kier!  Hopefully the dice will be a little more balanced in your next game.

Jhorvash looked back to the Dominar for further orders.  The field belonged to House Telarr at last, and every enemy had been slain.

As she turned, Jhorvash caught a flash of movement in the corner of her eye.

She snapped her head back around, and saw that the blighted toksaa warlock was gone.  Jhorvash scanned the horizon.  She thought she saw a shadow flitting through the scrub nearby, but when she looked again, she saw nothing.

Although the Dominar's forces had won, Jhorvash knew he would be displeased that she had let the enemy leader escape from right under her blade.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Battle Report Community Tournament, Prologue

So, some of the regular posters in the PP Battle Report forum have all gotten together to do a tournament over Vassal.  The tournament will last a couple of months with two weeks between rounds.  The lists are 35pts with 10pts of specialists.  There were already 2 Retribution players when I signed up, so I went with Skorne.  Because I don't have a lot of practice with them, and because they've been a lot of fun the few times I have played them, I went with Void Seer Mordikaar and Dominar Rasheth as my pair:

Void Seer Mordikaar (+5pts)
*Despoiler (10pts)
*Archidon (7pts)
10 Praetorian Swordsmen (6pts)
*Officer and Standard Bearer (2pts)
6 Cataphract Cetrati (11pts)
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2pts)
Agonizer (2pts)

Specialists: Basilisk Krea (4pts), Tyrant Commander and Standard Bearer (3pts), Mortitheurge Willbreaker (2pts)

Dominar Rasheth (+5pts) - Chain Gang Tier 2
*Bronzeback Titan (9pts)
*Titan Cannoneer (8pts)
*Titan Gladiator (7pts)
5 Gatormen Posse (9pts)
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2pts)
Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew (1pt)
Paingiver Task Master (2pts)
Agonizer (2pts)

Specialists:  Basilisk Krea (4pts), 6 Venator Rievers (5pts)

There's supposed to be some kind of narrative to these games, so I'll try to write the reports up from the perspectives of some of the models.  I might post round-by-round activations in the comments, but mostly I'll try to make it clear what's going on from the story and snapshots from the Vassal program.

Here are the links to my games (added as I play them).  Enjoy!
Game 1: Rasheth vs. Saeryn
Game 2: Rasheth vs. eMorvahna

EDIT: It looks like this is actually the Battle Report Community Tournament, not the Battle Report Campaign Tournament, which does make a little more sense.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

First Game with Rasheth (Advice Wanted from Trollkin players)

I tried out Rasheth this past Friday, and I saw what all the fuss is about.

I'm not going to do a full report of this one, because it ended up being a pretty one-sided game.  I also took pictures, so I'll post them instead of a report.  I'd also like to ask Trollkin players what they think of the matchup.  The idea had been for me an Caleb to both try out a new Warlock, and play a couple of games, but it would be a lot more exciting if one of our Warlocks wasn't a terrible matchup for the other.

I went with the 35pt Dominar Rasheth list I cooked up.  Casey was around, and was nice enough to lend me some of his models, so I had no proxies.  Here's the list:

Dominar Rasheth (+5) - Chain Gang Tier 2
*Bronzeback Titan (9)
*Titan Cannoneer (8)
*Titan Gladiator (7)

5 Gatormen Posse (9)
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2)
Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew (1)

Agonizer (2)
Paingiver Task Master (2)

Caleb decided to start trying Borka Kegslayer:

Borka Kegslayer (+5)
*Dire Troll Mauler (9)
*Troll Axer (6)
*Pyg Keg Carrier (-)

5 Trollkin Champions (10)
*Skaldi Bonehammer (3)
5 Trollkin Warders (8)
Kriel Stone Bearer and 3 Stone Scribes (3)
*Stone Scribe Elder (1)

Our Deployment.  The Warders are sort of hidden behind the house.

We squared off in Close Quarters, and got ready for a slugfest.  Caleb went first.

The two armies thunder toward each other.

The Champs jam the Gators, and the Warders get into the zone.

The Gators charge into the Champs, but lose one of their number to Skaldi's Counter Charge.

The Trolls charge in, but Plague Wind and Diminish mean they bounce off.

End of the game.  Butts forward guys.


After the game, Caleb wondered if Rasheth is just a bad matchup for Borka.  The game certainly didn't go well for him.  He did have some poor key rolls (he tried to get the Mauler to throw the Gladiator into Rasheth, which would have made my next turn's activations more complicated).  This is also his first game with Borka, so it may just be inexperience.  I definitely feel that Rasheth has a good suite of tools against Trollbloods in general, and Caleb's list was certainly on the back foot for most of the game.

If there are any other Trollkin players reading this, what would you do against Rasheth?  Is this a matchup Borka can handle?  Caleb's also considering delving into eGrimm and Jarl Skuld as his next warlock.  Would either one do better at handling Rasheth?  If Borka's fine, and Caleb just needs some practice or the list needs some tweaks, that would be good to know too.

My other main observation is that MVP for the match was the Cannoneer, not because of the cannon, but because of Diminish.  I normally give Diminish a hard time for not giving much support to models besides the Cannoneer, but this game it was great.  I managed to shelter both the Bronzeback and the Gladiator near the Cannoneer for the initial charge, and stack Diminish with Rasheth's Feat to really take the punch out of the Trollkin weapons.  My Titans would have been smashed up pretty well if I hadn't had Diminish affecting everything attacking them. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Swingin' the Chain, Swingin' the Chain

After the last tournament, I've decided to try out a new warlock: Dominar Rasheth.  There are a couple of reasons.

1)  He's supposedly very good.  I keep reading about people taking him to conventions and doing well with him.  He certainly seems to have a lot of tools against a lot of opponents, and asks an important question himself: Can you deal with 3-4 Titans when they're protected by clouds, and your damage rolls are debuffed?

2)  His playstyle looks like it will complement Makeda 3's, and she's currently my favorite Skorne warlock (she's so fantastic, I'll probably write out a massive post on how great she is pretty soon).  A lot of the matchups Makeda 3 doesn't like to see are fine for Rasheth.  Rasheth runs more Titans, and gives better and more consistent defensive support than Makeda 3.  His Feat and ability to take multiple Agonizers make him very good at running a high-Arm list.  He also plays from the backfield, which makes him a pretty good complement in terms of not putting him at risk.  Makeda 3 tends to rely on a few pieces, herself included, to do most of the work, while Rasheth spreads buffs (and debuffs) around for everyone to use.  If I decide I like Rasheth enough, I may end up using the two together.

3)  He is one Skorne warlock who really, actually likes to be played in Tier.  And his Theme List, Chain Gang is good.  It's like he's hosting an infomercial about House Telarr's Titan-Based Products, and every 10 seconds, he pauses to say "But wait, there's more!"  For real, here's the Tier 1 benefit:

Buy now, and you'll receive all your Titans Warbeasts at a 1pt discount, but, call within the next 10 minutes, and we'll increase the FA of Agonizers by one for every Titan you purchase absolutely free!!!
- Forces of Hordes: Skorne, p 26.

Even after Tier 1, the benefits are solid, although they are mostly icing on the cheaper Titans cake.  They're all useful, and "require" you to grab choices you'd already be reaching for with the Theme list.  Gatormen and a Task Master?  Sure, that seems good.  Two or more Agonizers?  Well, you're letting me take more than one.  Three or more Titans?  Heck, I run 3 Titans regularly enough at full price, outside of Tier, with plenty of 'casters.

The Tier list does have a limited model selection.  The only beasts allowed are Titans and Basilisks, and the only solos allowed are Paingiver Task Masters and Agonizers.  The units are a little more open, especially considering what Rasheth wants in a list: Nihilators, Venators, and Minion units are all fine.  Special mention should go to the Gatormen Posse and the Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew, although Farrow Slaughterhousers are also good.

4)  I honestly like Rasheth's fluff a lot.  I'm a sucker for any kind of fluff that hints at Skorne society beyond the Army of the Western Reaches, and really anything that depicts Skorne who aren't proud warriors eager to suffer and die for their ideals.  Don't get me wrong - the warrior theme makes Skorne who they are as a Faction, and I wouldn't be nearly as into the fluff if uncompromising martial pride weren't a major part of the Skorne.  But the fluff has always alluded to the farmers, paper-shufflers, and everyday Joe-kesh Skorne of the Empire, and they're the ones who make the Faction come alive as a civilization for me.

Rasheth has nothing but disdain for the traditional Skorne values of hardship, privation, and glory in the crucible of honorable combat, and he isn't afraid to show it.  He's warrior caste by birth, but he won't even trouble himself to lift a weapon.  He rules one of the most powerful Houses in the Empire, but has made it powerful primarily by developing trade.  Still, Rasheth hasn't tried to escape feudal conflict; he actually enjoys it.  He loves taking the battlefield personally, and breaking his enemies himself, as though to rub in their faces exactly what their warrior's pride is worth.

I could go on, but this post isn't really a fluff post.  Rasheth is interesting, and he makes the Skorne more interesting by association.

5)  Co-Blogger and Trollkin-about-town Caleb is also talking the opportunity to try out a new warlock, and we decided to coordinate a couple of battles using the new ones, so expect some reports!  At some point in the next month or so, I'll probably pick Rasheth up if he works out for me.

Rasheth's Theme lists more or less build themselves up to a point, so here's my take on a 35pt list and a 50pt list for Rasheth.

Chain Gang Tier 2, 35pts

Dominar Rasheth (+5)
*Bronzeback Titan (9)
*Titan Cannoneer (8)
*Titan Gladiator (7)
5 Gatormen Posse (9)
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2)
Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew (1)
Agonizer (2)
Paingiver Task Master (2)

I only decided to go for Tier 2 because I wanted both 3 Titans and full Gatormen with a Task Master.  That didn't leave room for 2 Agonizers, but oh well.  The list has a lot of high Arm, and Rasheth's Feat and the Agonizer's abilities will make it extra hard for many (non-Cryx) armies to deal with.  I went with a Cannoneer over a Sentry because I wanted a little shooting to combo with the Arm debuff from Rasheth's Feat and Blood Mark.  Having Diminish in the list is also nice, and can be back-breaking in conjunction with Gnawing Pain and the Feat for a total of -6 to melee damage rolls on living 'beasts.  The Swamp Gobbers are in there to block LoS to Rasheth and hand out Concealment as needed.

Chain Gang Tier 4, 50pts

Dominar Rasheth (+5)
*Bronzeback Titan (9)
*Titan Cannoneer (8)
*Titan Sentry (8)
*Titan Gladiator (7)
5 Gatormen Posse (9)
6 Venator Rievers (5)
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers (2)
Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew (1)
Agonizer (2)
Agonizer (2)
Paingiver Task Master (2)

At 50pts, I decided to add in a Sentry, which works extremely well with Carnivore and Train Wreck, provides extra protection with Locker, and is kind of absurdly hard to take out if I can stack all the damage debuffs in the list.  It's also a Reach beast, and a staple for Rasheth.  I added in the second Agonizer to get to Tier 4, and because Agonizers are so unbelievably good.  I also added a squad of Venator Rievers to get a little more shooting into the list.  Burst Fire will give them good damage even against heavies combined with Blood Mark and the Arm debuff from the Feat.  They'll combine with the Cannoneer and arced spells to give me a pretty respectable ranged game.

That's the plan for now.  I'm pretty excited to try Rasheth out.

See you all later.