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)
Paingiver Task Master (2)
Morvahna the Dawnshadow (+5)
*Warpwolf Stalker (10)
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!