Friday, June 27, 2014

4+Tournament: Caleb's Circle, -or- pBaldur Rides Again!

So, there's a newbie-friendly tournament coming up this weekend, and I figured I'd participate. I'm be escewing Trollbloods because, frankly, I'm getting pretty good with them, and I don't want to "stomp newbie face all over the place". As the NFL league has shown (with my terrible 1-3 record so far), I'm a whole heck of a lot worse with Circle, and in the vein of both getting better and playing more casual games, I'm going to take that and run with it. Without further ado....

Baldur the Stonecleaver (*6pts)
* Warpwolf Stalker (10pts)
* Woldguardian (9pts)
Shifting Stones (2pts)
* Stone keeper (1pts)
Warpborn Skinwalkers (Leader and 4 Grunts) (8pts)
* Warpborn Alpha (3pts)
Blackclad Wayfarer (2pts)
Una the Falconer (3pts)
* Rotterhorn Griffon (3pts)

I actually got some practice in with this list, with a gallows grove instead of the stone keeper, in my most recent NFL game (the Tower League that pGrexy has been talking about... yea, I need to do more battle reports...), and it was a knock down drag out attrition slug fest vs Skorne, which was a little unexpected - I didn't think Circle could do that. pBaldur's feat and spells were pretty central , but once everything was engaged, the real surprise was Una the Falconer -- her 3 boostable POW 10 shots per turn ignore virtually everything in the way (plus the target in melee penalty), and because she could boost damage, they became pretty useful for taking out support solos and wounded infantry.

Kromac the Ravenous (*4pts)
* Gorax (4pts)
* Rip Horn Satyr (9pts)
* Warpwolf Stalker (10pts)
Shifting Stones (2pts)
Stoneward and 5 Woldstalkers (5pts)
Blackclad Wayfarer (2pts)
Druid Wilder (2pts)
Gallows Grove (1pts)
Lord of the Feast (4pts)

I'm hoping to pick up a Rip Horn Satyr today now that they're out, but if not, I'll be buying a 2nd heavy Warpwolf kit and magnetizing a Feral/Pureblood for use with Kromac. If your knee-jerk reaction is "why are you bringing Kromac to a newbie-friendly tournament, you fool?!", fear not - I've played approximately 2 games with him (losing both horribly), the list isn't made to be brutally competitive, and I've already checked it out with the guy running the event (who, like many at Tower, are well aware of my less competitive streak).

I'm a bit wish-washy about the support models - I'm debating dropping the Woldstalkers and LotF for a Pureblood, but I want to see how this list does first (plus, that would give me a whole mess of fury problems with four FURY 4 beasts - the Wilder is going to be a bit taxed to begin with).

So, there are the lists - now that the 35pt games for the league are done (thus giving me a chance to get my Circle legs under me again) and we're moving up to 50pts, I'll try to get some actually battle report posts up in the coming weeks. Maybe. If I can. I hope.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Steam Rollin': Force Wall

I've been obsessing about Kaelyssa's new tier ever since the good ol' days of "Hail Hydra", and even though we lost our Gains Focus-powered Shoryuken I think it still shows a lot of potential, especially since I got into this game to play with steam/soul powered/geothermal stompy robots. It asks a very interesting question- if we're left with basically nothing but our 'Jacks, but they are allowed to live to their full potential, can we make a winning list?

Monday, June 23, 2014

NFL League Game 4: A Civil Disagreement (Skorne vs Skorne - 35pts)

Pre-Game Thoughts

Here's the report for my fourth NFL league game, and this time, I'm up against Skorne.  Since I'm also playing Skorne, I have a pretty good idea of what to expect.  Skorne tends to run heavy armor with warbeasts, and tends to break heavy armor pretty well with those same beasts.  We usually run at least one unit of infantry for screening and killing other infantry, but we have some great infantry options against most opponents too.

The three 'casters I'm most worried about from Skorne are Xerxis, Zaal, and Morghoul 1.  Xerxis runs a mean brick, with armor I'll need serious commitment to crack, and the damage buffs to let ordinary infantry kill just about anything.  Zaal is kind of similar: he can buff infantry to the point where they'll kill warbeasts, plus he has some very deceptive ways to assassinate.  Morghoul 1 runs beasts that move very fast, and hit very hard, and has a denial Feat that can completely shut down warbeasts for a round.

For my 'casters, I went with Makeda 3 and Mordikaar.  Makeda 3 can crack armor very easily in case I see a brick of some kind.  I would have liked to take Zaal instead of Mordikaar, because as I said above, he's good against Skorne.  But Mordikaar still has some decent armor cracking potential, and has a lot of flexibility and attrition power for scenario play.  He's also a decent answer to Zaal.

Void Seer Mordikaar (*5pts)
*Despoiler (10pts)
*Archidon (7pts)
Cataphract Cetrati (Leader and 5 Grunts) (11pts)
Praetorian Swordsmen (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
*Officer and Standard Bearer (2pts)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Agonizer (2pts)

Despoiler is cool, especially with Mordikaar, since the Void Spirits it creates can have all kinds of interesting angles, and Mordikaar helps them out a lot.  Otherwise, the list is an infantry slog.  There will be lots of Reviving Swordsmen, and a few Reviving Cetrati.  I've got decent armor cracking power with the Cetrati and the heavies, but no real specialists there.  I am counting on Despoiler's Dark Shroud affinity to crack armor if it comes to that.

Makeda and the Exalted Court (*2pts)
*Molik Karn (11pts)
*Titan Gladiator (8pts)
*Cyclops Brute (5pts)
*Cyclops Brute (5pts)
*Basilisk Krea (4pts)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Agonizer (2pts)

And here's my Makeda 3 brick again.  It's proven reliable against several kinds of lists so far, and I trust it against both Arm-skew and infantry heavy Skorne.

My opponent, Braden, obviously went through the same thought process I did when picking lists, and brought Morghoul 1, and Rasheth, both warlocks who can run an armor cracking Titan brick.

Master Tormentor Morghoul (*7pts)
*Tiberion (11pts)
*Bronzeback Titan (10pts)
*Titan Gladiator (8pts)
*Titan Gladiator (8pts)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 5 Grunts) (3pts)
Mortitheurge Willbreaker (2pts)

Well this list isn't messing around.  Four Titans is a lot of beef to chew through at 35pts (heck, it's kind of a lot at 50pts).  Besides that, they'll have Abuse and Rush to get them an 11.5" threat range, 13" for Tiberion, and a really solid denial feat against 'jack and beast heavy opponents.

Dominar Rasheth (*5pts) - Chain Gang Tier 4
*Bronzeback Titan (9pts)
*Titan Gladiator (7pts)
*Titan Gladiator (7pts)
Gatormen Posse (Leader and 4 Grunts) (9pts)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Agonizer (2pts)
Agonizer (2pts)
Paingiver Task Master (2pts)

Chain Gang is a scary list I didn't expect.  The Tier benefits make Titans cheaper, increase the FA of Agonizers, give Minion units a Spd boost on turn 1, start the Agonizers off with Fury, and expand the Deployment Zone 2" forward.  Rasheth also gives some great support against many different enemies, but especially living models.

Scenario, List Selection, and Deployment

We rolled up Balance of Power, a center scenario with a 12" by 6" rectangular zone in the middle of the table, and a flag on each player's side of it.  Controlling the zone is worth 1 point, dominating it is worth 2, and dominating the friendly flag takes away one of your opponent's points.  A strange scenario, but a cool one.

We set up terrain, and revealed out 'casters.  I picked Makeda 3, and Braden picked Morghoul 1.

Against two beast bricks, I'd need all the armor cracking I could get, and my Mordikaar list just doesn't have enough.  To top it off, Makeda's good at center scenarios because she likes the brick formation to stay tight.

I didn't ask Braden why he picked Morghoul over Rasheth, but I suspect he knew I'd have to go with Makeda 3, and Morghoul shuts her beasts down better, and his Feat and Torment can deny her transfers, which she needs to stay alive at the front lines.

Braden won the roll-off, and chose to go second.

I deployed in my standard brick in front of the zone.  The Brutes went on the flank, the Krea and Makeda went in the middle, and Molik and the Gladiator went just to the side of my center pieces (Molik on the left, the Gladiator on the right).  The Paingivers and Agonizer went behind the front line of beasts along with Makeda's Exalted Guardians.

Braden deployed in a similar group, with Tiberion on the right, the Bronzeback and Morghoul in the middle, and one of the Gladiators on the left.  The Willbreaker and the Paingivers went behind that line, along with the second Gladiator, who went right behind Morghoul.

Neither of us had any AD, so that was the setup.

The Gator models are our flags for the Scenario.

Turn 1, Makeda

I ran with the Brutes, Molik, and the Krea, Rushed and Trampled with the Gladiator, and had Makeda cast Vortex of Destruction and put 4 Fury on the Agonizer before charging up to keep pace with her army.  The Paingivers advanced, but I'd deployed them a little too far back, and I'd have to take a Threshold check next turn.

I was painfully aware of how much longer Morghoul's threat ranges generally are than mine.  Hopefully next turn, I could force Braden to commit to killing the Brutes so that I could mob his heavies and bring them down.

Turn 1, Morghoul

The Gladiator behind Morghoul Rushed Tiberion, who ran 10" up the table.  Morghoul put Abuse and Admonition on the Bronzeback, and advanced on the center-right of the table, about opposite his flag.

The Gladiator on the left Rushed the Bronzeback, and trampled up 7 inches.  The Bronzeback sprinted 14" up the table, sticking its toes into the zone.  The Paingivers moved up, and managed Fury on the beasts they could reach.

Braden was in a solid defensive position here.  His lead Bronzeback was well defended by Admonition, and threatening a huge area past the zone.  Tiberion and the left Gladiator were threatening into the zone, and I'd have to contest it this turn, or Braden would start scoring points.

Turn 2, Makeda

Makeda upkept Vortex of Destruction, and leached Fury.  One of the Brutes had to take a Frenzy check, but passed due to Molik making them all Thr 10.

The Krea advanced, and boosted a Spiritual Paralysis shot at the Bronzeback, but missed.  The right Brute advanced into the zone, and used Safeguard to prevent itself from being smashed around by slams and crit-Smites.  Braden decided to use Admonition to duck the Bronzeback to the left a bit, giving it a better charge lane at Molik Karn.

However, this also gave Molik a good charge lane at the Bronzeback.  Makeda and her Court got out of the way, the Guardians positioning themselves to hamper Tiberion if he came after anyone except the right Brute.  The left Brute advanced to the edge of the zone.  The Gladiator shuffled forward, and Rushed Molik, and the Paingivers Enraged him, and managed Fury.

Molik charged the Bronzeback, and killed it with his 2 initials, and 3 bought attacks, then used Fate Walker on himself.

The Agonizer advanced, and used Gnawing Pain to debuff Morghoul's beasts a little.  Finally, Molik took his Fate Walker move to step out of Morghoul's threat ranges.

Killing the Bronzeback was huge for me, since it had been the core of Braden's offense.  I still had Tiberion and 2 Gladiators (plus Morghoul's Feat to deal with), but now I was in a better position to deal with his threats.

Turn 2, Morghoul

Morghoul leached in his Fury.

He activated first, walked to the right corner of the zone, and cast Abuse on Tiberion, and Admonition on himself.  The Paingivers walked up, and Enraged Tiberion and the left Gladiator.

Tiberion charged the central Brute, and turned it into a red smear.  He'd scored two critical hits with Tetsubo, but Safeguard kept the Brute in place, if not alive.  The Willbreaker advanced, and used Ancillary Attack to have Tiberion smash the right Exalted Guardian too.

The left Gladiator Rushed itself, and charged at Molik, but was out by a little over an inch.  The rear Gladiator advanced, trying to get into Morghoul's CTRL or the Willbreaker's Command range.

Braden's beasts were committed now, and vulnerable.  It would take some planning to kill them off, but I had the opportunity to gain a huge leg up on attrition and scenario.

Turn 3, Makeda

Makeda leached, and upkept Vortex of Destruction.  There was still a Fury left on Molik, and he failed his Frenzy check, taking a fully boosted attack at the left Gladiator for moderate damage.

Now was my time to get the most out of my offense, so even with Molik out of commission, it was time to Feat.

The Agonizer used Gnawing Pain, and ran out of Makeda's way first.  Then she used her Feat (whenever a model in her battlergroup destroys an enemy model, she can gain a Fury or remove one from a warbeast in her battlegroup), and issued a Run/Charge order.  She charged the Gladiator, and her remaining Exalted Guardian charged the Willbreaker.  The Guardian killed the Willbreaker, and did a little damage to Tiberion.

Makeda finished off the Gladiator, used Blood Boon to cast an Eliminator at a nearby Paingiver, then used the 2" advance to get range and LoS on another Eliminator at another cluster of Paingivers.  She boosted the attack roll, and got another advance to get within melee range of Tiberion.  Rather than take attacks, I decided to have her camp her remaining 2 Fury.

The Paingivers Enraged the Gladiator and the Krea.  The Krea used Paralytic Aura, and charged Tiberion to drop his Def.  She also did a little damage with her bite.  The Gladiator charged Tiberion, and took advantage of Vortex of Destruction to kill him off.

Finally, the remaining Brute ran to screen Makeda from Morghoul a little better.  I ended my turn, and scored 2 points for dominating the zone.

I'd done everything I set out to do, and Braden was in a very tough position.  He basically had to kill Makeda this turn, or I'd quickly be able to win one way or another.

Turn 3, Morghoul

Morghoul was already full on Fury.

The last Gladiator advanced into Morghoul's CTRL, and Riled itself for Fury.  Morghoul used Maltreatment to take it for a 6th point of Fury overall.

Then he started his assassination run on Makeda by popping his Feat to deny her transfers to any beast in his CTRL.  Since the Brute was in the way, he had to go around, and couldn't quite reach her with a 7" walk.  However, he was in melee range of the Exalted Guardian, and if he could destroy it, he could Overtake into Makeda.  However, his Anatomical Precision doesn't work on statues, and he couldn't roll enough damage to kill the Guardian before running out of Fury.

With Morghoul so exposed, Braden decided to concede, and we counted it as an assassination.  Makeda lightly tapped Morghoul with her sword to let him know why she's in charge of the Empire.

Victory to Makeda!

Post-Game Thoughts

I didn't make any serious mistakes, and I judged my threat ranges and plays well.  Braden made two major mistakes that I was able to capitalize on to gain the advantage, and both of them revolved around using Morghoul's defensive tools offensively.  Both Admonition and Morghoul's Feat are mainly defensive tools.  While they can be used offensively, their main function is to give Morghoul's army more staying power against the types of enemies who can best take it out.  If Braden had kept Admonition on the Bronzeback rather than using it to get a better charge angle, it would have been able to dodge Molik.  If he had used Morghoul's Feat defensively on his second turn, Tiberion would very likely have lived (due to my beasts being unable to force), and Braden would have had another chance to rally.

Molik is the MVP this time around.  His long threat range and hitting power allowed him to kill off Braden's Bronzeback on turn 2, and put Braden on the defensive from then on.  Molik really is a power piece in any list, and he's extra terrifying under Makeda.

Braden's list was almost pure beef (elephant?), and is very close to what I would run with Morghoul at 35pts.  The only change I'd make is to possibly switch the second Gladiator out for a little more support - maybe a Krea and a Cyclops of some kind, or an Agonizer and a min unit.

That's it for now.  Stay tuned for next week's game, when we move up to 50pts, and I play against Circle.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 20, 2014

What-If Machine

I had an interesting conversation at the last tournament I attended at Tower back in March.  One of the other players (Professor Lust, I think?) was talking about preparing for a tournament by essentially playing the same game out a bunch of different ways.

Basically, both players take their first turns as normal, getting everything set up where it would be just before Turn 2, when most of the fighting starts.  Then, they'd mark where everything was (or just remember, since it's pretty casual), and play out the turn or the round, or even a couple of rounds.  Then, they'd reset the board, and play it out again, this time making different decisions, and seeing how the game plays out differently.  It gives people a chance to actually play out all those times where they said "oh, but I should have done..." after a game.

This doesn't give you the same kind of competitive experience as a normal game of Warmachine, but that's not the point.  Instead, you get to practice trying multiple things against the same army, with the same setup, which is a great way to learn how to use your lists.  It seems especially useful in tougher matchups, where small mistakes can really cost you.  I can definitely see how solving those kinds of problems casually, with time to go back and try again if things don't work out, could be a better way to improve your tactics than a normal game.  It gives you a lot more time to consider you're doing and what your opponent can do, and a lot more repetition of similar table positions, which helps you think and react quickly in a timed game.

Basically, it seems like a very interesting way to practice for more competitive games.

Anyway, I'm going start doing this at some point, although I don't have a whole lot of extra time between league games right now.  I'll probably even do a Groundhog Day style battle report, where no matter what we try, we always come back to turn 2 sooner or later.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Battle Report: Ossyan vs Grissel1

Two games in a row? What the what?

This time I played Dan and his Grissel1 list. I don't have much experience against Trollbloods except for one encounter with the Miserable Meat Mountain that I got thoroughly trashed in, so I was a bit nervous about this matchup. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

NFL League Game 3: Abomination! (Skorne vs Khador - 35pts)

Pre-Game Thoughts

Greetings tabletop sportsfans.  It's time for the third battle of Tower's NFL themed summer league, and this time I'm up against Khador.  I don't have the greatest record against Khador, but that has given me a pretty good idea of what to watch out for.  Khador has a lot of hard-hitting infantry, and I'm expecting at least Ironfang Pikemen and the Great Bears of the Gallowswood, and even though high-Def is on the outs in our meta, I might see some Winter Guard Death Star and Kayazy Assassins.

'Caster-wise, I was prepping for three in particular (for whatever reason, I'm worried about three 'casters per faction, no more, no less) who can give Skorne trouble: Butcher 3, Irusk 1, and Sorcha 2.  The Butcher offers very little army support, but he can basically kill everything himself, and he murders Warlocks.  Sorcha 2 has a great spell list, and a serious armor cracking feat, and Irusk 1 is great at attrition in general.

I chose my lists mainly with Butcher 3 in mind.  I wanted to have an answer to him in both lists so that I could base my selection on the other 'caster my opponent went with.  To that end, I went with my mostly infantry based Zaal list, and a slightly modified version of my Makeda 3 brick.

Supreme Aptimus Zaal (*5pts)
*Tiberion (11pts)
*Basilisk Krea (4pts)
*Aptimus Marketh (3pts)
*Kovass ( - )
Praetorian Swordsmen (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
*Officer and Standard Bearer (2pts)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Hakaar the Destroyer (4pts)
Ancestral Guardian (3pts)
Ancestral Guardain (3pts)
Agonizer (2pts)

Zaal has an innate ability to deal with the Butcher thanks to his love of Ancestral Guardians and Last Stand.  Last Stand lets his models kill the Butcher, even at full camp, and he's a support-type caster who likes to stay far, far away from trouble.  Against other lists, he'll have a decent attrition game, and always threaten assassinations.

Makeda and the Exalted Court (*2pts)
*Bronzeback Titan (10pts)
*Archidon (7pts)
*Cyclops Brute (5pts)
*Cyclops Brute (5pts)
*Basilisk Krea (4pts)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Agonizer (2pts)
Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor (2pts)

Without Molik Karn available, Makeda's best way to retreat from combat is Sprint from the Archidon's Lightning Strike animus.  Orin Midwinter is good in general, especially against potential high-def units, and is Makeda 3's anti-Butcher 3 tech.  Khador doesn't usually have trouble cracking armor, but if a list looks like it might struggle, I'll drop Makeda 3.

My opponent, Tom, brought Butcher 3, since he really is rising to the top as a meta-bender for Khador, and Irusk 2 - a little like Irusk 1, but a little different.

The Butcher, Unleashed (*4pts)
*Juggernaut (7pts)
*War Dog (1pt)
Iron Fang Pikemen (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
*Black Dragon Officer and Standard Bearer (2pts)
Iron Fang Pikemen (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
*Black Dragon Officer and Standard Bearer (2pts)
Tactical Arcanist Corps (Leader and 2 Grunts) (4pts)
Ogrun Bokur (Client: The Butcher) (3pts)
Iron Fang Kovnik (2pts)
Iron Fang Kovnik (2pts)

This is a solid Butcher 3 list with a wall of clouds for the Butcher to hide behind, and a wall of meat to ensure the enemy needs to commit some serious hitting power within the Butcher's melee range.  Basically your standard Butcher delivery system.

Supreme Kommandant Irusk (*5pts)
*Behemoth (13pts)
*Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker (2pts)
Iron Fang Pikemen (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
*Black Dragon Officer and Standard Bearer (2pts)
Doomreavers (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
The Great Bears of the Gallowswood (5pts)
Iron Fang Kovnik (2pts)
Widowmaker Marksman (2pts)

This looks like a pretty well rounded eIrusk list.  It has a variety of hard-hitting units, a good all-around 'jack in Behemoth, and eIrusk's great supporting spell list and abilities.  Battle Lust will let this list remove heavies, and Tough, and the Black Dragons and Doomreavers should be able to mow through any pesky infantry.

Scenario, List Selection, and Deployment

We rolled up a scenario, and got Outflank.  There are two large circular zones midway up the battlefield.  Controlling a zone is worth one point, while dominating one is worth 2.  Nice and simple.

We set up the table, and hid our 'casters.  I picked Zaal, while Tom went with Irusk 2.

I wanted Zaal because his list spreads out a little more, and because I do want to try out a couple of non-Makeda 3 lists.  I need to get some experience with other 'casters too.  Zaal also has a little more reliability against Irusk's Tough with the Swordsmen.

Tom picked Irusk because he saw that both my lists had anti-Butcher tech, and if I could keep Butcher 3 honest, his more-or-less complete lack of support for his troops would probably swing any attrition war in my favor.

I won the roll-off, and chose to go second, picking the table edge with what looked like the least annoying terrain setup, though neither of them was that great.

Tom set up his Iron Fangs on the right with the Kovnik, and Behemoth on the left.  Irusk, Sylys, and the Great Bears went in the middle.

I set up my Swordsmen opposite the Iron Fangs with the AG's interspersed to provide support and melee threats, and Marketh just behind for spell support.  Zaal, Tiberion, the Krea, and the Paingivers went on the left opposite behemoth.

Finally, Tom deployed the Widowmaker Marksman in the forest in front of Irusk, and the Doomreavers on the far right to threaten my Swordsmen.

Turn 1, Khador

Irusk allocated one to Behemoth.

Irusk walked forward, gave the Iron Fangs Tactical Supremacy (they get a 3" move after all your activations this turn), and put Fire for Effect on Behemoth.  Then he Energized Behemoth and himself up the field a bit.

The Kovnik and Iron Fangs ran upfield, since I had no real shooting.  The Doomreavers ran up as well.  The Great Bears ran behind the Iron Fangs.  The Widowmaker walked up beside the Iron Fangs.

Behemoth Trampled forward, and took a couple of Bombard shots at the Krea, but was out of range even with a scatter.

This is a standard Khador advance.  Irusk is far back for safety.  The Iron Fangs and Doomreavers are threatening my Swordsmen.  My left flank feels safer, but I don't love the prospect of Behemoth dropping shell after shell right at Zaal.

Turn 1, Skorne

The Swordsmen and Ancestral Guardians ran forward, with the lead Swordsmen in the charge threat of most of the Khador infantry, but I hoped not the walking threat.

Zaal walked up, and gave the nearer AG and Hakaar a soul each, put Inviolable Resolve on Tiberion, and threw a couple of Fury on the Agonizer.

Tiberion ran, and the Krea used Paralytic Aura, and charged Behemoth, stopping when she hit Tiberion.  The Paingivers walked up, and managed Fury, and the Agonizer ran up behind a wall near the zone.

Finally, Marketh advanced, and put Last Stand on my middle Ancestral Guardian.

I ran to meet the Khadoran offensive.  I was not happy at all about this split deployment, but hopefully next turn, I'd be able to take a crack at the Khadoran Infantry while joining my line and contesting both zones.  The eventual plan was to either out-attrition the Khadoran infantry or get a Kovass or Ancestral Guardian into Irusk.

Turn 2, Khador

Irusk dropped Tactical Supremacy, but upkept Fire for Effect, and allocated 1 Focus to the Behemoth.

Sylys advanced, and used Arcane Secrets on Irusk.  Irusk advanced, and cast Airburst on an Ancestral Guardian barely in his CTRL, and the AoE hit the Swordsmen Officer and Standard Bearer.  He boosted damage against the Officer, and killed both, denying the Swordsmen their mini-Feat and Side Step.

Behemoth advanced, and shot at the Agonizer twice.  It missed both times, thanks to Cover, but didn't deviate onto the Paingivers either time.

The Kovnik gave the IFP Shield March, and they advanced in Shield Wall, ending up just out of range of the Swordsmen.  The Doomreavers charged two of their number into the lead Swordsmen, forcing an Abomination check, which the Swordsmen failed.  Ugh.  They also killed 2 Swordsmen.

The Widowmaker advanced, and deftly sniped out Marketh, which removed my chance of rallying the Swordsmen before their activation next turn with Inviolable Resolve.  Ughhh.

The Great Bears ran upfield a bit, staying behind the IFP line.

Well... crap.  With the Swordsmen out of commission for a turn, and out of a mini-Feat and Side Step permanently, I'd have to hope the AG's could hold up my right flank.  The left was looking a bit better with Zaal's battlegroup completely intact, but I was still in a tough spot.

Turn 2, Skorne

Time for some Righteous Vengeance, courtesy of Hakaar, who walked up into dudes-killing range, and knocked down a Doomreaver (who Toughed due to being in Irusk's Cmd).

Then Zaal upkept Last Stand on the AG and Inviolable Resolve on Tiberion.  I did some quick CTRL measurements, and off we went.

The Agonizer used Spiritual Affliction to deny Focus Allocation, and sobbed its way over to Behemoth, which would at least keep the 'jack's damage potential to a minimum.  The Paingivers Enraged Tiberion.

Tiberion charged the Iron Fangs in his zone, and after a lot of Tough Checks, managed to Crit Smite the one he could reach into the next one, and kill them both, leaving him maxed on Fury.  The Krea walked up, and used Paralytic Aura.  Zaal walked up behind her, threw a soul on the Ancestral Guardians, and cast Bump on Tiberion to hopefully help him survive the turn.

The Swordsmen meebled around, getting out of the way, and preparing to be useful next turn by rallying (yay).  Hakaar walked up to engage the Marksman and all the nearby Iron Fangs, and killed the Doomreaver he'd knocked down as well as 3 of the 4 Iron Fangs.  The AG behind him ran to a supporting position to threaten Defensive Strikes with Last Stand.  The last AG advanced, and killed off the other Doomreaver who had attacked the Swordsmen.

The basic plan was to force his infantry to deal with the AG's or be attritioned out.  Once they killed the AG's the Kovass would pop out, and hopefully kill Irusk, or at least do enough damage to give me the right flank, and start threatening Irusk.

Turn 3, Khador

Irusk had no Focus to allocate, but did upkeep Fire for Effect on Behemoth for free.

Irusk went early, popped his Feat to give my models/units in his CTRL -2 Speed, and prevent them from receiving (or giving) Orders for a round.  It also stands up his models, and lets them ignore clouds and forests, but that effect would not come into play.  He also cast Battle Lust (an additional die on melee damage rolls and Fearless for a round) on the Great Bears and the Iron Fang Pikemen, and cast Energizer for 3 Focus to bring Behemoth within aiming range of Zaal.

The Great Bears charged in, and killed Tiberion, though it did take them 5 attacks to seal the deal.

The Iron Fang Pikemen used their mini-Feat, Iron Zeal, to give themselves +4 Arm and immunity to Knockdown and Stationary for a round.  They charged the Krea and Hakaar, and killed both easily, along with a couple of Swordsmen.  I spawned the Kovass on Hakaar with a clear line of sight to Irusk.  The nearby Swordsmen passed their Abomination check.

Tom went into damage control mode.  He charged the Iron Fang Kovnik at the Last Standed AG, but the Kovnik failed his Abomination check, and sat there looking scared.

Tom had remembered that the Doomreavers had Magic Weapons, and the 4 remaining ones charged the Kovass (The Swordsmen and Widowmaker Marksman passed their Abomination checks).  The Last Stand AG killed one of those with its Defensive Strike, and one was just out of range.  The first one killed the Kovass on the first swing, then killed the Widowmaker, then hit an Iron Fang, who Toughed it out thanks to being near Irusk.  The last Doomreaver in melee took its initial swing at the Last Stand AG, but didn't finish it off.

Behemoth aimed, and shot at Zaal.  The boosted, Fire for Effect shot missed and scattered wide.  The unboosted normal shot hit him directly for 8 damage.  He chose to transfer to the wounded AG, taking 6 damage from backlash.  I spawned the Kovass again (and the Swordsmen passed yet another Abomination check).  The Kovass could still see Irusk.

Sylys moved to be able to take a free strike on the Kovass with his magic staff.

This was taken partway through the next turn - I forgot until then because I was so focused on the game at this point.

Losing both my beasts (not to mention having the Great Bears within axing range of Zaal) meant the sooner I ended the game, the better.  Fortunately for me, there was a Kovass ready to help Irusk join it in the ghost realm.  All I had to do was clear out everything capable of taking Free Strikes against it.

Turn 3, Skorne

Zaal cut himself for 1 Fury to bring himself back up to full.  He had no spells to upkeep.

The Swordsmen went first, and killed two of the remaining Doomreavers who were threatening Free Strikes on the Kovass.  This forced Tom to promote the one in front of the Kovass, meaning it wouldn't be able to make any more attacks (including Free Strikes) for the rest of the turn.*  Perfect.

I was pretty sure the Kovass could kill Irusk with just Zaal's Feat, but I wanted to be extra sure, so I wanted to get Last Stand on it.

So the Paingivers charged the three Iron Fangs who had killed the Krea, and heroically killed them with a trio of 8's to hit (Anatomical Precision made the Pikemen's high Armor moot).

Zaal would need to walk out of the forest to get into range of the Kovass with Last Stand, but unfortunately, the brave Paingivers were in the way.  Unfortunately for them!  Zaal killed two with Sunder Spirits to the back, left the forest, and barely got within range to put Last Stand on the Kovass.  Then he popped his Feat. to let the Kovass boost melee attack and damage rolls with tokens for every model of mine that had been destroyed.

The Kovass charged Irusk, and was easily able to stay in Sylys' melee range.  Sylys died in the first Thresher, and Irusk died horribly on the second attack.

Victory to the Skorne!

Post-Game Thoughts

Sweet merciless Ancestors, that was close!  Luck was pretty wild this game, and I made a lot of mistakes that cost me dearly.  I shouldn't have deployed Zaal so far from the infantry.  Instead, I should have kept everything in a mutually supporting formation pretty centrally.  Against my deployment, Tom was basically able to refuse my left flank until he could get the Great Bears in on Tiberion.  On my first turn, I forgot about Airburst (and lost my whole Swordsmen UA to it), and let Marketh get sniped out of the game - two things I really should have been able to prevent.  After that (thanks to the failed Abomination check on the Swordsmen), it was all I could do to keep myself in the game at all.  I played Hakaar and the AG's pretty well, and definitely got them into a pretty optimal position for ghost-dropping on my second turn.  I'm not thrilled that my plan had to come down to that, but I'm pleased that in this case, it worked.

I can't judge the list based on this game, since I made some grievous mistakes, but there are a few things I'd really have liked to have.  The first is a second infantry unit.  Swordsmen are good, but if I'm going to be using one unit sacrificially, I'd really like to have more than just my AG's to take advantage of it.  I suppose that's one of the limitations of 35pts.  I could swap Tiberion for a Cyclops Raider and a unit of Swamp Shamblers, which Zaal runs extraordinarily well.  Tiberion wasn't the bulwark he's supposed to be against this list, but Battle Lusted Great Bears will kill just about anything.

The MVP of this fight is Hakaar.  Righteous Vengeance let him move up, and he was able to put some attrition power against the Iron Fangs that forced them to kill him, which is what I needed them to do.

Tom generally outplayed me (although the Swordsmen failing their Abomination check was a major stroke of luck for him).  He deployed well, and managed his activations to snipe out my critical support pieces early on.  His fatal mistake was forgetting the Kovass, which threw him into a scramble when it did appear so close to Irusk.  Tom was well aware that Irusk is pretty easy to kill, and he would have been a lot more careful if he'd kept the Kovass in mind.

Tom's list is very solid, with incredibly high damage output, and a reliable attrition game with the Tough, high-Arm Iron Fangs.  It doesn't have many major blind spots, but it does from the limitations all 35pt lists have.  For one thing, there aren't quite enough bodies between Irusk and danger to feel perfectly safe.  Tom also probably wants a Mortar Crew for Fire for Effect when he bumps the list up to 50pts.

Thanks for great, bloody, and nerve-wracking game, Tom!

My next match is Skorne vs. Skorne, and Zaal is effectively out of commission for the round thanks to Hakaar, Tiberion, and Marketh all being injured.

*This seems weird, but it's actually to prevent people from killing their own unit leaders to get better angles on formation by field promoting someone to the front lines.  If they do it, the newly promoted soldier can't attack.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Battle Report: Ossyan vs Irusk2

Managed to get another game in this week vs one of our local PGs and his heavy armor Khador battalion, lead of course by the indomitable Supreme Kommandant himself. My first army was an MoW brick led by Irusk2, so this was a treat for me.

Fortunately I was planning on practicing my Ossyan list anyway, so here we go:

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Just Picked Up Tyrant Zaadesh

The new Lesser Warlocks are out for each Faction, and I picked up Zaadesh a couple of days ago.

He looks like a fun addition to the Skorne arsenal.  I'm thinking of trying him out with pMorghoul, pMakeda, and Zaal.

pMorghoul seems like a great match, since Abuse doesn't have to target beasts in Morghoul's own battlegroup.  I really like the thought of a Brute/Savage under Zaadesh pulling off a tag team.  The Brute can just run.  Meanwhile the Savage can charge in from up to 15" away swinging at Mat 8 P+S 19 (factoring in Enrage and Abuse) at whatever the Brute had engaged.  That will kill a heavy, or several heavy infantry assuming I can get both beasts on a group of them.

pMakeda can sometimes use a little extra hitting power, and doesn't really need beasts to be in her own battlegroup.  The main attraction for her is Savagery though.  I'd probably put a real beatstick like a Bronzeback on Zaadesh and combo Savagery with Perdition.  A Savagery'd Bronzeback is scary enough when it doesn't threaten a potential 18.5"(20.5 with Rush) plus Beat Backs.  Molik Karn would threat even further (24" + Side Steps WAT?!  and 26 with Rush).  I'd probably want a Krea and Willbreaker in the list just to make sure that Perdition got off (and in the Willbreaker's case, to extend Zaadesh's ability to force his missile beast when it walked right out of his 8" CTRL).  Tag Team would be cool for the late game, but I'll probably mostly be casting Perdition and Animi.

Zaal loves cranking the damage output of low cost models to obscene levels, and I'm thinking Zaadesh with him might be just the excuse I need to pick up some Reptile Hounds.  Tag Team stacks with Flank to make the little guys Mat 9 P+S 10 (12 with Enrage) with an extra damage die, and Perdition can let a Hound get into melee before its activation to help out its buddy then activate itself to add to the damage.  Last Stand will only add to the terror these little dogs can dish out.  You get up to 5 dice per damage roll, and Mat 9 with 3 or 4 dice to hit threatens everyone.  Last Stand is also great on Zaadesh himself, who can buy up to 4 attacks at P+S 12 with Reach.  The only downside is that you lose him at the end of turn.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

NFL League Game 2: The Hammer is My Convergence of Cyriss (Skorne vs Convergence -35pts)

Pre-Game Thoughts

This is the second game in Tower's Steam Powered Fantasy Football league, and this time, I'm up against the Convergence of Cyriss.  I only have a few games against the Convergence under my belt, but their model selection is fairly limited, so I have a pretty decent idea of what I'd be up against.  Convergence tends to run heavy armor lists, which Skorne deals with quite well.  I can expect to see a bunch of Vectors across the table, and probably at least a little infantry backed up be the fantastic a Enigma Foundry.  Nothing will have great defense though, so hopefully I'll be able to power through it.

In terms of Warcasters, there are three I'm worried about.  Father Lucant has a Feat that bumps armor to worrisome levels even for Skorne, as well as Purification, which isn't much fun to deal with.  Axis has a very solid spell list, and a great offensive/defensive Feat that can be devastating if well timed.  Finally, there's Syntherion, who can punch through armor easily with Synergy, and has serious attrition game between auto-repair, and Reconstruct.  Luckily, Lucant was injured from my opponent's last game, so I wouldn't have to deal with him.

Out of the four Warlocks I'm trying to stick to this summer, I like my chances with most of them.  The two I took to this game were Makeda 3 and Zaal.  I have the most experience with Makeda 3 so far, and she smashes high armor easily.  Zaal can deal with anything, and will be bringing mostly infantry and solos, which gives him a little for freedom to spread out in scenarios.

Makeda and the Exalted Court (*2pts)
*Molik Karn (11pts)
*Titan Gladiator (8pts)
*Cyclops Brute (5pts)
*Cyclops Brute (5pts)
*Basilisk Krea (4pts)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Agonizer (2pts)

I played this list in my last game, and I really liked it.  It's a durable armor skew list with a lot of hitting power, and a decent amount of speed.  I like Makeda 3 a lot in general, and this list is no exception.  It's biggest weaknesses are that it doesn't spread out all that well, and that once it starts to lose models, its offensive output can drop very fast.

Supreme Aptimus Zaal (*5pts)
*Tiberion (11pts)
*Basilisk Krea (4pts)
*Aptimus Marketh (3pts)
*Kovass ( - )
Praetorian Swordsmen (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
*Officer and Standard Bearer (2pts)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Hakaar the Destroyer (4pts)
Ancestral Guardian (3pts)
Ancestral Guardian (3pts)
Agonizer (2pts)

This is the Zaal list I'm experimenting with right now.  Tiberion is pretty new to me, but so far he's been very powerful.  Zaal in general is tremendously versatile, and can throw opponents for a loop if they expected a beast brick.  And every model is a potential assassination threat with Last Stand and Zaal's Feat.

My opponent, Erik, brought 2 lists, and I wasn't surprised to see Axis and Syntherion as my potential matches.

Axis, the Harmonic Enforcer (*6pts)
*Cipher (9pts)
*Inverter (8pts)
*Diffuser (3pts)
*Corollary (3pts)
Reciprocators (Leader and 4 Grunts) (9pts)
Perforators (Leader and 2 Grunts) (5pts)
Enigma Foundry (4pts)

Looks like heavy infantry and heavy Vectors.  This list doesn't have a lot of attacks, but it does have a lot of sticking power.  Reciprocators are hard enough to deal with without an Enigma Foundry returning one to play every turn.  Otherwise, it looks like a strong attrition and scenario list.

Forge Master Syntherion (*6pts)
*Cipher (9pts)
*Inverter (8pts)
*Diffuser (3pts)
*Galvanizer (3pts)
*Corollary (3pts)

Wow, I do not Syntherion well enough to recreate his list.  I'll try to get the exact list from Erik at some point, and update the post then.  This list looked like a good mix of heavy and light 'jacks, with enough in there to take full advantage of Synergy.  That's all I remember though.

Scenario, List Selection, and Deployment

We rolled up a scenario before choosing our lists, and got Scenario 8: Rally Point.

There are two large circular zones, one friendly and one enemy, and two objectives, one friendly and one enemy.  Dominating the friendly zone or controlling the enemy zone is worth 1point.  Dominating the enemy zone is worth 2 points.  Destroying the enemy objective is also worth a point.  Friendly Faction solos also gain Inspiration [Faction] if they're within 4" of an uncontested friendly objective, which sometimes matters.

We set up the scenario and terrain, and hid our Warlock cards and phone screen (Erik was using Warroom) from sight.

I chose Makeda 3, and Erik chose Axis.

I went with Makeda, since I thought she'd have a strong trading game against both Axis and Syntherion.  I was a lot more worried about Axis, but I have a lot of experience with Makeda 3, and I know she can crush bricks given half a chance.

Erik went with Axis, probably for the denial element of his Feat.  Skorne loses a lot from not being able to charge, and the -2 Strength hurts as well.  Axis is also a bit less squishy than Syntherion, which is a pretty big deal against both Zaal and Makeda 3, who both have some unpredictable assassination angles.

I won the roll-off, and chose to go first.  Erik responded by choosing the side with a nice hill in front of the deployment zone rather than a forest, but I suppose that's the nice thing about having a Gladiator in the list...

I deployed the Brutes on the flanks as usual, ready to get into the zones.  Molik deployed on the right side of the forest, while the Krea deployed on the left.  The Gladiator went in the forest, ready to extract itself next turn.  The Paingivers and Agonizer went behind the beasts.  Makeda deployed next to the Krea on the left, and had enough Cmd range to put one of her Guardians on either side of the wood easily.

Erik deployed Axis on the central hill with the Cipher and Galvanizer beside him and the Corollary just behind.  The Inverter deployed to oppose Molik Karn on the right, and the Reciprocators deployed in a brick on the left.  The Perforators and Enigma Foundry deployed just behind Axis and Co. on the hill.

Neither of us had any Advance Deploy troops this time, so we just got down to it.

*A note on the pictures: There were a lot of butt-charges this game to prevent models from getting tangled up in various tusks, flails, and polearms.  Any time a model seems to be facing the wrong way for no reason, it's because we turned it around to fit it into combat.  Nearly all the models were facing forward the whole time.

Turn 1, Skorne

The Gladiator Rushed itself, and Trampled through the forest.  The other beasts all ran upfield, hooking around the forest into a more coherent battle line.

Makeda cast Vortex of Destruction (damage rolls against enemy models in her melee range are boosted) on herself, put 4 Fury on the Agonizer, and gave her unit a Run/Charge order.  She charged Axis, and her Guardians ran up to provide helpful Shield Guards for the beasts.

Finally, the Paingivers advanced, and dropped my Fury down to manageable levels.

I was starting to set up here, but I'd have another turn to position before Erik's forces charged in.

Turn 1, Convergence

Axis Allocated a Focus to the Inverter, then put Iron Aggression (target Warjack charges for free and gains boosted melee attack rolls) on the Inverter, and Onslaught (friendly models beginning a charge in his CTRL gain Pathfinder) on himself, and walked up.

The Inverter ran, and passed its Focus to the Corollary.  The Corollary advanced, and spent its point of Focus to allocate a Focus to the Cipher, which had the side effect of allocating one to the Galvanizer too.  The Diffuser advanced, and tried to shoot the left Brute, but was out of range.  The Cipher advanced, and shot a couple 4" templates of Rough Terrain in the Gladiator's direction with its Servipod Mortar.

The Reciprocators, reasoning that they were probably pretty safe, ran forward, but gave themselves Set Defense for the round just in case.  The Perforators Sniped themselves to Snipe me, and tried to shoot up the left Brute, but they missed.

Erik had put himself in a good position overall.  I'd really want to contest the zones, since scoring started on his next turn, but if I did, I'd be in plenty of range for his Feat to affect most of my models and all of his, giving him a turn of excellent damage while limiting my ability to counterattack.

Turn 2, Skorne

I decided to reposition and brace for the charge.  That's what this list is built for at least.  Tank with the Brutes, and counter with the heavies and Makeda.

Makeda leached back to full, and upkept Vortex of Destruction.

The Krea advanced, and used Paralytic Aura to give me soome extra Def against ranged attacks.  The Gladiator Rushed the left Brute, and moved up a bit.

The left Brute moved in to create a barrier between its halberd and the wall.  The Cyrissists might have Pathfinder, but they would still have to deal with positioning their bases across the wall.  The right Brute walked a little wide, claiming the Convergence zone (though it was too early to score).

Makeda declared a Run/Charge with her unit, put a Fury on the Agonizer, and got her Exalted Guardians into position.

Molik and the Agonizer advanced cautiously, waiting until next turn to put their powers to use.  The Paingivers walked up, and managed Fury for me, and that was that.

This turn could well make or break my army.  I had set up mostly outside Erik's threat ranges.  The exceptions were the left Brute and Krea, who were within charge range (but not, I hoped, walking threat range) of the Reciprocators, and the right Brute, who was probably within charge range of the Inverter.  However, I was looking at Axis' Feat turn, and he could really blunt my counterattack.

Turn 2, Convergence

Axis recharged his Focus, and upkept his spells, then Erik measured his Control range a couple of times.

"I think I can kill Molik Karn this turn," he said.

"Huh?" I said.

He measured again.  "Yeah.  I think so.  It depends."

First, Axis allocated 3 Focus to the Inverter.  Then he activated first, walked up, and used his Feat to give Convergence models in his CTRL +2 Spd and Str, and enemy models currently in his CTRL -2 Spd and Str.  He affected all the Convergence models except the very leftmost Reciprocator, and all the Skorne models except Makeda and the Paingivers.

The Perforators tried to soften up Molik Karn with some spikes, but two missed, and one was Shield Guarded by the left Exalted Guardian.  The Corollary received a Focus for starting its activation near Axis, advanced, and gave that Focus to the Cipher while giving a whole new Focus to the Galvanizer.

The Diffuser shot Molik with a Beacon.  It hit, but I had the right Exalted Guardian Shield Guard it.  The Cipher also shot some Rough Terrain Molik's way, and mucked up the ground in front of him.

The Reciprocators gave themselves +2 Str, and charged in, 2 at the Krea and 3 at the Brute.  The two charging the Krea reduced her to 1 hit box (luckily in the Spirit).  One of the three charging the Brute hit thanks to Set Defense, but managed to take its Body.

The Inverter charged the Beaconed Exalted Guardian for free, moving roughly a billion inches (ok, it was 11, but that's pretty far), and smashed it to bits with its charge attack.  Then it measured melee range to Molik Karn, and was in by at least an 8th of an inch.  It proceeded to smash him three times with its Meteor Hammer, and kill him with its 3rd bought attack.

*Much Internal Swearing Here*

Oh, and the Enigma Foundry ran up behind the Reciprocators.

It looks like I forgot to get pictures of this turn.  Probably because I was wondering what on earth I would do.

Losing Molik Karn had put me in a tough position, but hopefully I'd be able to fight my way out of it.  This turn, however, I'd be hampered by Axis' Feat, so my counterattack wouldn't be nearly as crushing as it should be.

Turn 3, Skorne

Makeda leached back to full, and upkept Vortex of Destruction.

The Krea advanced as far as she could without taking a free strike, which wasn't far at all, and used Paralytic Aura to debuff the Reciprocators' Def by 2.

Then Makeda activated her unit.  She was hitting at full P+S 17 due to not being caught in Axis' Feat.  She moved into melee range of a Reciprocator, while her remaining Exalted Guardian did the same, and used her Feat (which allows her to gain a point of Fury or remove a point of Fury from a model in her battlegroup whenever a model in her battlegroup destroys an enemy model).  The Exalted Guardian did a lot of nothing with her attacks, but Makeda killed the two Reciprocators she could reach, then killed a Perforator with a fully boosted Eliminator.  The 2" move that gave her was enough to walk into melee of two more Reciprocators, who died messily beneath her blade.

The Gladiator Rushed itself, but a 4" walk didn't take it into melee range of the Inverter.  The right Brute took a couple swings at the Inverter, but didn't accomplish much.  The Agonizer walked a little closer to the Inverter, and used Spiritual Affliction to stop it from gaining any Focus next turn.

The Paingivers advanced, and healed the left Brute and the Krea a bit with Medicate.  The left Brute then walked up, and killed the last Reciprocator with some boosted damage rolls from its Halberd.

The game was still in the balance.  Wiping out the Reciprocators was a major coup for me, since now the Enigma Foundry would be stuck churning out the much less impressive Perforators.  The Agonizer was stabilizing my right flank, and hopefully, Makeda and the Gladiator would have the hitting power to prevail against the remaining threats - the CoC heavies and of course, Axis himself.

Turn 3, Convergence

Axis upkept his spells, and gave the Diffuser a Focus.

The Diffuser walked up, and tried to hit the Gladiator with a Beacon, but missed due to the target in melee penalty.  It gave its Focus to the Corollary.  The Corollary, meanwhile, activated near enough to Axis to get a free Focus, then shlepped over and gave both its Focus to the Cipher, plus an extra 3 point of Focus from the Cipher's Induction Node.

The Enigma Foundry backed up, and popped out a new Perforator to replace the one Makeda had killed.  The Perforators tried to put some damage on Makeda, but she was in a Paralytic Aura, and they all missed.

The Inverter walked up to the Agonizer, and killed it with its Macropummeler.  It took its Meteor Hammer attack against the Gladiator, and did a little damage.

Axis advanced into the right zone, and cast Battering Ram at the Brute in it, but missed due to the Target in Melee penalty, and ended his turn camping 1 Focus.

The Cipher charged the left Brute, and beat it to death with its Pistons.

At the end of Erik's turn, the right Brute was controlling Erik's zone (since Warcasters can't contest), and I scored my first scenario point.

Erik's momentum had stalled a bit, and his heavies were in danger.  If I could manage to take both of them out, the only real threat to Makeda left would be Axis.

Turn 4, Skorne

Makeda Leached her Fury and upkept Vortex of Destruction.  The Krea had to take a Frenzy check, but passed.

She and the Exalted Guardian charged the Cipher.  I'd fully expected them to kill it, but the Guardian did no damage, and Makeda rolled badly, leaving it on 6 or so health (she had another Fury but I preferred to camp, even with surprises), with its Induction Node and one of its Pistons intact.

The Paingivers Enraged the Gladiator and right Brute, and Medicated the Krea again to bring all her aspects back to operational.

The Gladiator scrapped the Inverter, and the Brute charged Axis for six or seven damage.

The Krea walked up to the Cipher, and took three attacks, but missed with all of them despite needing 6's.  (I realized later that I probably should have hit with all the Krea's attacks since the Cipher's Movement was out, but such is life).

I stared in wordless disgust at my dice for a few seconds, before realizing that my clock was still going.  I ended my turn still in control of the Convergence zone, bringing me up to 2 Control Points.

I'd started to swing things back in my direction, but Makeda was in serious danger from the Cipher, especially if Axis could get close enough to cast Iron Aggression on it.  Still, he and the Cipher were the last threats the Convergence had left, and if Makeda could live through this turn, I'd probably be able to finish off the Cipher and camp my way to victory somehow or another.

Turn 4, Convergence

Axis Allocated a single point of Focus to the Corollary, and kept the remaining 5 Focus for himself.

The Diffuser tried to debuff Makeda with its Beacon gun, but missed thanks to the Target in Melee penalty (and being Rat 2, of course).  The Perferators advanced so they were contesting both zones, and shot at various targets, but missed with all their shots.

Axis walked around the Brute a bit, and pummeled it right out of the Convergence zone with Beat Back.  He ended up moving it around 7" with Beat Back, and finally got within range to put Iron Agression on the Cipher.  Then he took his last attack to Beat Back into the Convergence zone while staying within the Brute's melee range.  In the end, the Brute had taken a 6 or 7 damage altogether, but hadn't lost any aspects.

The Corollary started its activation within range of him to get a free Focus, and gave two to the Cipher, which magically became three due to the Induction Node.

Then the Cipher tried to move into melee range of Makeda, but there was no way to do it without leaving the Exalted Guardian's melee range, since they don't have Reach.  Erik decided to chance it, and the Cipher promptly died to the Free Strike.

The Enigma Foundry walked to contest the left zone, and that was it.  Axis dominated the Convergence Zone for one point.

Looks like we forgot to put a Wreck Marker down for the Cipher.

Well, Makeda had lived due to some accidentally great placement on my part.  I'd been completely confident that the Cipher would die on my last turn, so I tried to get Makeda as close as possible to the Enigma Foundry and Perferator in the left zone.  I did not anticipate that this would cause the Cipher to take a free strike, and therefore not kill Makeda on Eric's turn.  Both our clocks were low.  I had about 4 minutes left, and Erik had about 1:30.  Thankfully, I saw a way I might be able to win on my next turn.

Turn 5, Skorne

Makeda leached in Fury from the Brute and Gladiator, and upkept Vortex of Destruction.  The Krea needed to take a Frenzy check, and failed.  She charged the Exalted Guardian, but true to form, missed completely.

The Paingivers moved up, Enraged the Brute and Gladiator, and Medicated the Krea.

The Brute activated first, since the rest of my plan sort of hinged on it.  It charged Erik's objective, and destroyed it on the second bought attack.

Next, the Gladiator Rushed itself, and charged the Perforator contesting the right zone.  It took a few swings, but the Perforator went down.

Then, Makeda advanced next to the Perforator contesting the left zone and the Enigma Foundry, and cast Ground Zero.  Both were on the edge of the zone, and any distance would be sufficient to push them out.

That left me controlling Erik's Zone, and dominating my own Zone.  Combined with destroying Erik's objective, that gave me 5 points.  I ended my turn, and won on scenario.

My hands were shaking so much that this is the least blurry picture I got.

Victory to the Skorne!

Post-Game Thoughts

That was a really tense match, and I wasn't out of danger until the very last round.  I made a few critical mistakes this game, but the big one was forgetting that Beacon added to charge range against the affected model.  If I had, I'd either have placed Molik a little further back, or used my Shield Guards differently to make sure the Inverter couldn't get range to Molik.  Lesson learned, but Molik is injured, meaning I won't be able to use him in my next game.  Afterward, though, I recovered pretty well, and ground out the Convergence to a scenario win.

I sort of failed my list this game by losing Molik, but the Brutes proved how great they are as blockers for the list.  The left Brute took on the Reciprocators, and managed to escape without much trouble, while the right Brute ended up getting me 3 scenario points, and put a lot of pressure on Axis.  Otherwise, I like this configuration a lot more than I thought I would at 35pts.  Two Brutes seem to be just enough to keep me in the game, while Makeda is a melee monster, and can easily fill in for a third heavy (or second, if Molik gets killed).  I'm still looking forward to 50pts, when an extra heavy and light will make the list a lot safer to play.

The MVP of this game is Makeda's unit.  It feels a little cheat-y to pick my Warlock, but they turned a near disaster into a holding action, and then won me the game.  Wiping out the Reciprocators on my 3rd turn was absolutely crucial.  If even one had survived, the Enigma Foundry could have kept the unit up and swinging for a long time.  Makeda killed 4 on her own, and helped the Brute get into a position where it could kill the last one.  Plus Exalted Guardian A's free strike killed the Cipher, and saved Makeda from a very possible death at its pistons.

Erik played a pretty solid game overall.  His ploy to kill Molik was very smart (Molik is a lynchpin of my list), and he pulled it off well.  He did make a couple of mistakes, of which his main one was ignoring his own zone for scenario.  If he'd kept an eye on it, particularly in his third turn, when he moved the Inverter out of it to kill the Agonizer, he would have had more time to fight me off.  He also might have run one or two of his Reciprocators to keep them out of Makeda's Reach on his Feat turn.

Erik's list seemed strong.  It's a heavy armor skew list with lot of synergy with Axis' Feat.  I don't know Convergence well enough to know if I'd change anything about it.  Skorne deals with Armor well, so I might have chosen a small based unit or something for the game against me, but it works very well against a lot of opponents who don't take quite as many heavy hitters as I like.

Thanks for a great game, Erik!

Next up: Skorne vs. Khador.  Is Skorne even a faction without Molik Karn?

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Attrition in Retribution, Retribution vs. Armor Open Thread

Way (way) back when I joined the blog, I did a little thinking on the subject of attrition as it applied to Skorne.  The discussion mainly involved trading: who to sacrifice to the enemy, and how to set up the counterattack.

As a part-time Ret player, I'm interested in how the 2 factions do things differently, and in what Retribution needs to watch out for in an attrition-y match.

When I'm playing for attrition with Retribution, I usually try to get the edge early with shooting and set up the first charge on the same turn or the next turn.  I find that if I'm taking the alpha strike, or if I didn't do enough damage shooting, my list tends to lose the attrition war.  That's often ok, since Retribution assassinates well, but it can be a little nerve-wracking, especially if your opponent is careful.

I'm also a little curious about Retribution against heavy armor.  I played an armor-skew list recently against a Ret list with a lot of their traditional armor-cracking tools, and it didn't go well for the angry elves.  Admittedly, bad luck played a role, but I think even if it had been in my opponent's favor, he would have had a difficult time.

So I'm mostly asking any Ret players reading what they do in a slugfest, even if it's just doing their best to avoid one.

What do you use?  How do you position?  When is it useful to trade, and what do you do to set up favorable trades?  How do you deal with massive Arm-skew?

Any co-bloggers who want to comment can feel free to edit this post if they like, or even highjack it completely :)

MaxterMynd's comments:
This started as a comment but then exploded, so I decided to hijack the post. I agree that Retribution doesn't do attrition particularly well- we're really dependent on having our high quality infantry get the job done, and when we start to lose our critical mass we start to lose the game. But the thing that Retribution has in spades is assassination potential, so even if we're up against a really skewy list it's still possible to ignore most of it and go straight for the caster.

But even if it is a skewy list we can have the tools to deal with it. Some of them are specialized, like Ossyan's and Issyria's feats, but others can fit in most lists. The key thing to remember is that if the Retribution is going to make an impact on armor skew lists it needs to be dictating the flow of battle. We are much faster and have longer threat ranges than the typical brick list, and we need to use that the advantage to get the alpha (if not multiple alphas) or position our units for the scenario or assassination end game.

I'll go through the three sections (Alpha strike aka The Hard Hitters, Scenario Play and Assassination play):
The Hard Hitters
- Stormfall Archers. Better against single wound shield wall infantry (starstrike rounds set things on fire) or medium armored multiwound infantry (brutal shots), but with Ossyan can be used to eliminate Colossals and in a pinch can do decent damage to heavily armed targets with normal brutals.
-Halberdiers + UA + Thane. They will almost always get the alpha off if you are smart with a 13-15" threat range and will demolish any heavy on arrival and even take large chunks out of colossals. In a game that I'm writing up right now they were even able to eliminate an entire unit of shield walled Man-o-War Shocktroopers. The great thing about these guys is that with Reform you can move to avoid getting hit yourself by either moving in to engage or back out of charge distance from other threats.
-Sentinels. These guys have fallen a bit out of my favor as the Halberdiers are just so good, but they hit like trucks on all turns instead of the Halberdiers' one shot of gang and are more resilient to losing numbers thanks to natural strength and Vengeance.
-Invictors. Pow 12-14 shots are no joke, and can flank with warjacks.
-The Murder of Griffons. Sadness is seeing an Aspis one round your colossal or Miserable Meat Mountain when on a +7 Synergy chain. This list tends to suffer from having a limited number of attacks and is generally better vs multiple heavy lists than tons of multiwound infantry, but can do either in a pinch thanks to the burst of speed that the feat provides.
-Aiyanna and Holt. Pow 16 charging Halberdiers thankyouverymuch!
-Mage Hunter Assassins. Especially if you can get repeated use from them, doing an average of 8 damage a piece to ARM 19 heavies is no joke and can help things like our heavies finish off their targets.
-Hyperion, particularly if he is Inviolable Resolved or Polarity Fielded, as then he's hard to get rid of and still packs a punch.

Movement Shenanigans/Scenario Play
If you can't take out the armor you can at the least delay it and play for scenario. Jamming with Halberdiers is the premier shared tactic here, as not only do they take out the front line but then they slow up the second as they have to deal with your angry elves. And since they're just so fast already this likely sets the line of engagement rather far back. This works with any of our fast infantry such as Infiltrators, but I think that it works best on the Halbs. This play is especially sick with Kaelyssa as it preserves the alpha and allows us to set the line of engagment even further back.

Other plays come from the AFG (rough terrain templates and slamming targets into one another), the Banshee (run or charge it up to prevent units from giving orders, thereby slowing them up and forcing them to deal with an ARM 19 heavy without charging) and Rahn (TK and Force Hammer all day).

Play for Assassination
Retribution is one of the few armies that can just ignore the enemy's army and go straight for the caster and support. Strike Force can threaten things like the Kriel Stone or the caster, our many slams will clear lines of sight for our many guns and work any number of angles for killing the caster. Rahn especially is great at this style of play, as all it takes is one or two Assassins TK'ed into position on a knocked down caster to spell good night. Ravyn (if the caster is lightly armored), Issyria and Ossyan all play this tactic well.

 Retribution can take on heavily armored lists, but it takes a bit of planning and forethought. If you get bogged down or don't get the correct dice math you can get quickly screwed, so preserving your forces as long as possible while getting the alpha strike or maneuvering for scenario or assassination play is critical. Get the game plan in place, and then follow through, but always keep an eye on assassination (which, really, all good elves do).

Friday, June 6, 2014

NFL League Game 1: She Is the Brute Squad (Skorne vs Retribution - 35pts)

Pre-Game Thoughts

The first game of the NFL-style Warmachine/Hordes league has arrived, and I'm pitted against the Retribution of Scyrah.  We're encouraged to build our lists to foil the factions we're up against, and I might do that a little, but I'm mostly hoping to see how the four 'casters I talked about in my State of the Lists post fare against the worst the Tower Games meta can throw at them.

This week, I'm up against Retribution.  I'm pretty well versed in the faction, since I also dabble in angry elves a bit.  Ret can have some trouble with attrition, since they're relatively fragile, but they definitely have a decent selection of lists capable of dealing with a battlegroup heavy, armor oriented force like Skorne.  The lists I'm most likely to see are the eVyros Murder of Griffons (tm), an Ossyan gunline with some KD and a jamming unit to screen for the rest of the list, and a Rahn list geared toward slamming my warbeasts around, and finishing them off with Weapon Masters.

Out of the four 'casters I'm focusing on, I decided to pick two I knew would mostly be able to handle those three lists while getting a lead in attrition against the more fragile elves: Makeda 1 and Makeda 3.  Since the first 4 weeks of the league are 35pts, I'll use pared-down versions of the lists I talked about earlier.

Archdomina Makeda (*5pts)
*Mammoth (20pts)
*Cyclops Raider (5pts)
Nihilators (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew (Leader and 1 Grunt) (1pt)
Extoller Soulward (2pts)
Mortitheurge Willbreaker (2pts)

Even without the additional support it gets at 50pts, I think this list is pretty well balanced.  The Mammoth will be doing a lot of the work, but it's a strong center for the list, and the rest of the models support it well.  The Mammoth is a major threat to both low-arm infantry and heavies, although I'll definitely need to protect it well.

Makeda and the Exalted Court (*2pts)
*Molik Karn (11pts)
*Titan Gladiator (8pts)
*Cyclops Brute (5pts)
*Cyclops Brute (5pts)
*Basilisk Krea (4pts)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Agonizer (2pts)

The list this is based on is solid, flexible, and fun, and I'm a Makeda 3 fanboy in general, so I'm definitely going to play this at least once before we move up to 50pts.  The Brutes are for jamming and screening, Makeda and Molik are there to kill stuff, and the Gladiator and Krea are there for various support (and in the Gladiator's case, being a second line heavy).

I arrived a few minutes before my opponent, Isaac, and got out all my models while wondering what he would bring.  I ended up being pleasantly surprised by his lists:

Lord Arcanist Ossyan (*6pts)
*Banshee (10pts)
Dawnguard Invictors (Leader and 9 Grunts) (10pts)
*Officer and Standard Bearer (2pts)
Dawnguard Sentinels (Leader and 9 Grunts) (9pts)
*Officer and Standard Bearer (2pts)
Lady Aiyanna and Master Holt (4pts)
Mage Hunter Assassin (2pts)
Mage Hunter Assassin (2pts)

Okay, I'm not that surprised to see Ossyan, but I usually see him as much more of a gunline 'caster.  The Sentinels and MHA's are powerful melee pieces, and pretty good for cracking Skorne armor.  The melee heavy approach does mean that Ossyan's ranged element will suffer a bit, but he's only crushing at range on the Feat turn, and Quicken is a fantastic spell for Sentinels in particular.

Kaelyssa, Night's Whisper (*7pts) - Force Wall Tier 4
*Phoenix (10pts)
*Phoenix (10pts)
*Griffon (4pts)
*Griffon (4pts)
House Shyeel Battle Mages (5pts)
House Shyeel Battle Mages (5pts)
House Shyeel Artificer (3pts)
Arcanist (1pt)
4 Arcanists (T4 Benefit - Free!)

Kaelyssa's new theme force!  I've seen it around, and it looks very interesting.  The model selection is very limited, but the benefits are pretty amazing too.  At Tier 4, your opponent can't run or charge the first turn of the game, Arcanists replace Power Booster with an ability that lets them allocate to a Myrmidon that already has Focus, and you get a free Arcanist for every 'jack in the list (ignoring FA).  Overall, it's very control-oriented.  With the right models, you can slow your opponent down enough to completely lock them out of scenario.  It might start to crumple when the grind game starts, though the extra Arcanists might let Kaelyssa's 'jacks stick it out through the mid-late game better than they would in the standard list.

Scenario, List Selection, and Deployment

We decided to play it like a tournament, and pick our 'casters after the scenario had been determined. We rolled up Destruction, which I feel has gotten a lot more winnable by scenario in 2014.

There's just one rectangular zone in the middle of the table.  Opposite corners are taken up by an objective for each player.  Controlling the zone is worth a point, dominating is worth 2, and destroying your opponent's objective is worth 1.  Since the objectives contest the zone, you sort of have to destroy your opponent's to score at all though.

We set up the scenario, plunked some terrain on the table, and hid our 'casters behind our backs.

I picked Makeda 3, and Isaac picked Ossyan.

The scenario ended up making my decision for me.  Makeda 3's high armor and significant defense against shooting were already giving her the edge, but a spread out scenario might prevent her army from being able to support itself effectively, especially with Battle Mages pushing and my models around.  In Destruction, I could brick up, and grind my way through the zone until I won on scenario, or my opponent ran out of soldiers.

Isaac went with Ossyan because he didn't like Kaelyssa's toolset against Makeda 1's list.  The Mammoth, where most of my power was coming from, would be hard to remove and impossible to push, and Savagery would let me selectively ignore Kaelyssa's Feat as well as her slowdown Tier benefit (though only on one model/unit).

Isaac won the roll-off, and decided to go first.  We each set our clock to 42 minutes, then we started off with deployment.

Isaac deployed his Sentinels front and center, ready to fight it out for the zone.  The Banshee deployed next to them on the right to hold down their flank, and support them with slam-bolts.  Ossyan and Aiyanna and Holt deployed just to the left side of center, and the Invictors deployed to the left - probably to run around and shoot my list while the Sentinels jammed me.

Apologies for the blurriness - a photographer I am not.

I responded with a tight brick right in front of the zone.  The Brutes were on its flanks, and the Krea went in the middle, with Molik on one side, and Makeda on the other.  The Gladiator went next to Makeda.  The Exalted Guardians went roughly behind the Brutes to help out with Shield Guarding duties, and the Paingivers spread out behind the Beasts.  The Agonizer deployed on the right side of my formation to go after the Banshee.

In the AD phase, Isaac deployed his Mage Hunter Assassins on either side of the zone, threatening whatever I might put in their path.  And with that, we were off.

Turn 1, Retribution

Ossyan allocated one Focus to the Banshee.

The Mage Hunter Assassins ran, one blitzing to the hill just to the right of the zone, and the other jogging more conservatively up to a wall just to the zone's left.  Aiyanna and Holt moved up and used Stealth.

Ossyan cast Quicken (+2 Spd and Def against ranged and magic attacks) on the Sentinels and Chronomancy (members of his battlegroup can boost after rolling) on himslef.  Then he advanced to near Aiyanna and Holt.

The Sentinels ran a full 14" to a dual line just in front of the zone, and the Invictors ran 10" upfield on the zone's left flank.  Finally, the Banshee ran around the forest (our meta is in the terrible habit of leaving the trees off the table, since they always get removed when we go through them - but rest assured, they are there) to behind the Sentinels.

Isaac had put himself in a pretty commanding position.  He was threatening well past the zone, and put me in the position of having to get into nearly all his threat ranges or risk being jammed out of the zone by Sentinels.  I'd have to take his alpha strike on the chin, and do what I could to limit the damage.

Turn 1, Skorne

The Krea used Paralytic Aura (friendly models within 2" gain +2 Def and Arm against ranged attacks, and enemy models suffer -2 Def) on itself, and charged a Sentinel to set my ranged defense line as far forward as possible.

The Brutes both ran their full distance, the one on the right moving to engage the Assassin on the right, and the one on the left creating a wide barrier between its own melee range and my objective (safe from attack until my next turn).  The Gladiator Trampled up behind the left Brute.

Makeda walked forward, and cast Vortex of Destruction (damage rolls against enemy models in her melee range are boosted) on herself, and the Brute's animus, Safeguard (target model cannot be knowcked down, and is slammed 3" less), on the left Brute.  I debated casting another spell, but decided to camp 2 in case of an assassination attempt.  The Exalted Guardians walked around to be as close as necessary to my other models for Shield Guard.

The Agonizer ran up next to my Krea, though it had no Fury on it to use an Agony.  Last, the Paingivers advanced, and conditioned some Fury from my beasts, though bad placement meant I would still take a Threshold check on a Brute.

I was braced for a charge, with the left Brute as my main defensive blocker.  It wouldn't be easy to remove at range, and even charging Sentinels and Mage Hunter Assassins would need to be a little lucky to take it out with charge attacks thanks to Set Defense.  That said, I was more hoping to force Isaac to commit a lot of resources to removing it than actually expecting it to live.  Clustered infantry is one thing Makeda 3 deals with well, and the sooner I could get rid of those Sentinels, the safer I would feel.

Turn 2, Retribution

Ossyan upkept his spells, and allocated 2 more focus to the Banshee.

The Sentinels charged in first.  One could reach the Agonizer past the left Brute's halberd, and one could reach the Krea.  One failed a charge on the Krea, and 4 charged the left Brute.  Five (including the officer and standard) ran to a safer position just behind the zone.  The one charging the Agonizer hit, and did 6 damage with a mediocre roll.  The one attacking the Krea took out her mind with a low damage roll (just 5).  The 4 charging the left Brute just couldn't land those 8's to hit, and the one that did only inflicted 2 damage.

The left Assassin charged the Gladiator, but missed.  The right Assassin charged the Brute engaging her, but also missed.

The Invictors ran again to bring themselves into range.  Aiyanna and Holt walked up and went Stealth again.  Ossyan ran behind the Invictors to set up his Feat next turn.

The Banshee tried to shoot the Krea, but it was Def 18 between Paralytic Aura and the shooting into melee penalty.  The Banshee missed, but didn't hit the Sentinel engaging the Krea.

Isaac had some really bad luck with his charging weapon masters.  Most of them missed, and even the ones who hit failed to do much damage.  Rather than trading his front line for mine, he was set to lose most of his Sentinels in exchange for a couple of damage on two of my beasts.

Turn 2, Skorne

Makeda leached Fury, and upkept Vortex of Destruction.  The left Brute had to take a Threshold check, but passed.

The Krea used Paralytic Aura, and moved out of the way toward the Sentinel who had attacked her.

Then Makeda and her unit advanced, and Makeda popped her Feat (which lets her put Fury on herself or remove it from a Warbeast in her battlegroup every time a model in her battlegroup destroys an enemy model).  The one Exalted Guardian who had reached the left Assassin missed it twice.  The other one failed to contact any enemies.  Makeda made up for that though.  She killed three Sentinels with melee attacks, and used Blood Boon to kill 2 more with Eliminator.  That gave her a short move, which she used to get into range of the clump of 3 Sentinels screening the officer, and killed them all with a heavily boosted Eliminator (which cost her 6 Fury total).  She then moved back around behind the left Brute, and took a swing at another Sentinel with her last Fury, but missed.

The Paingivers advanced, wiped the Fury off the Krea with Condition, and Enraged Molik and the right Brute.  The Agonizer got out of Molik's way.

Molik charged the Sentinel that had attacked the Agonizer, killed it, and Side Stepped toward the right Assassin.  He killed the Assassin with his second initial attack, Side Stepped up to Isaac's objective, and destroyed it with bought attacks, netting me a scenario point  He had two Fury slots left, and I didn't want him injured this game, so he used Fate Walker.  

The right Brute charged the Banshee, and did a little damage.  More importantly, it tied up that dreadful Slam-cannon.  The left Brute killed the left Assassin and the last remaining Sentinel in my front line, then cast Safeguard on Makeda just in case.

The Gladiator just walked forward.  After that, Molik took his Fate Walker move back toward the Agonizer.  If he Frenzied, I wanted the Agonizer to be the model he hit.  After that, I scored a point for controlling the zone, which brought me to 2.

I'd done a lot of damage this turn.  Isaac's melee game was no longer a factor.  If I could survive to the next turn, he'd have little to defend his army from my melee superiority.  He'd have to hope for a great turn of attrition, or try to take out Makeda, who was as well defended from ranged attacks as she could be.  She was easily in the Krea's Aura, and had 2 Shield Guards and 3 Transfers available.

Turn 3, Retribution

The Sentinel Officer took his Vengeance move.  Ossyan upkept his spells, but allocated no Focus.

The Banshee crept around the right Brute to stick its toes in the zone, and dealt some damage with its swords.

Ossyan advanced into Feat ranged of most of my army, then used his Feat to inflict an extra die of damage with ranged attacks against all my models in his Control Area.  Then he shot Makeda with his Def-reducing Chronophage Cannon.  He hit, but I had Makeda's Exalted Guardian Shield Guard the shot, hoping that would take Makeda out of range of the Def-reducing effect.  It killed the Exalted, however, meaning the aura disappeared.  Also, Battle Driven was triggered, bumping Makeda's Arm up to 19.

Aiyanna and Holt advanced.  Aiyanna tried to use Kiss of Lyliss to reduce Makeda's Arm, but couldn't draw Line of Sight past the blocking Brute.  Holt shot at Makeda twice, but missed both times.

The Sentinel Officer charged the Krea to try to remove Paralytic Aura, and took out her mind, but she stayed alive.

The Invictors unloaded at Makeda, but thanks to a combination of sub-par luck and Makeda rocking a Def 17/ Arm 21 statline against ranged attacks, they only did 5 damage.

The game was all but over now.  Isaac only had a tied-down Banshee and ranged models left, and was barely contesting the zone.  I had nearly my whole force, and plenty of breathing room to play it safe with Makeda if I chose to.  On the other hand, Ossyan looked pretty close to Makeda.  Maybe close enough to kill this turn.

Turn 3, Skorne

Makeda Leached her Fury, and upkept Vortex of Destruction.  Both Molik and the right Brute Frienzied.  The right Brute missed the Banshee, and Molik killed the Sentinel officer.

The left Brute advanced, and tried to take out a few of the Invictors who might get free strikes on Makeda if she charged Ossyan.  It killed two, enough to ensure she'd stay far enough away during her charge.  The Krea advanced, and tried to hit Ossyan with Spiritual Paralysis to reduce him to base Def 7, but missed.

Then Makeda charged in.  She missed the first attack, and did pretty poor damage with the second, then missed the third.  But the fourth attack hit, and finished Ossyan.

Victory to the Skorne!

Post-Game Thoughts

Tactically, I played a pretty solid game.  My first turn advance got me into a solid defensive position which would have been difficult to crack even if Isaac had rolled better, and set me up for an effective counterattack on turn 2.  However, in the process, I let the clock scare a little too much, and got my line cluttered by rushing.  I had about 10 minutes left by the end, and this list plays very quickly except on the Feat turn, so I really should have take a little more time, and optimized my positioning.  Turn 2, I remembered the scenario well enough to pressure the Ret forces more into my lines, and even got Makeda into a pretty safe position to weather the Ossyan Feat turn.  I was scared of Molik being taken out (and therefore unusable in the next game), but I think a better Fate Walker move might have been to jam him forward, to threaten the Invictors and Ossyan.  It would certainly have put him more at risk though, and I'm much happier to have him for my upcoming game.

My list performed better than I hoped.  It's only 2 models down (a Bronzeback and a 3rd Brute/Savage) from the 50pt version, but those 2 models do cost me pretty significantly in terms of options.  A 3rd Brute gives me more redundancy in jamming/screening, and lets the list spread out a lot better in scenarios.  That wasn't necessary this game, since the scenario only required that I contest one zone.  The Bronzeback gives me a powerhouse second line beast as well as access to Train Wreck, which is great for giving my army the ability to push through a jam, or for giving Molik a lot more flexibility in movement when he's on offense.  In this game, I missed it quite a bit, since I could have used it to get Molik into the Banshee on turn 2.  In this particular game, it would have served me better than the Gladiator and Agonizer, but I would really have liked the Agonizer if Isaac had gone for Kaelyssa.

MVP for the match definitely has to be the left Brute.  It guarded most of my advance from an army which out-threated me significantly, tanked 4 charging sentinels like a champ, and even finished off an MHA who was pretty close to Makeda.  The Brutes in general were fantastic this game, and access to Safeguard made me feel a lot better about going up against slams from the Banshee's Force Cannon.

Isaac had an uphill battle this game, but handled it pretty well.  Bad luck on his second turn attack rolls with the MHA's and Sentinels changed his plan from trading the Sents for my front lines into a desperate assassination attempt on turn 3.  I do think he was a little too cautious with Aiyanna and Holt.  If he'd run them turn 1, they might have been able to contribute on turn 2, and my Brute might have died.  His flanking maneuver with the Invictors also ended up not paying off.  I kept my army mostly out of their range on my first turn, and they were too far away to do anything but run again on Isaac's second.

Isaac's list focused on combined arms more than most Ossyan lists I see.  In general, I like it, though the Dawnguard units are expensive.  It had a very rough matchup in this game, where I could defend against the shooting very effectively and work through the Sentinels quickly by forcing most of them to commit on the charge.  I might consider replacing the Sentinels, even though they're very strong, with Halberdiers + UA + Houseguard Thane.  They keep all the Sentinels' speed (a full 14" run on turn 1) without needing Quicken.  That would free up Quicken for the Invictors, who can use it to keep up with the melee elements while flanking as Isaac tried to do in this game.

Thanks for a great game, Isaac!

Stay tuned for my next League match against the Convergence of Cyriss.

Pax gazing down at her conquered foe.